Another week, another episode of the 2000s Denver Nuggets looking like a bunch of childish, ego driven morons who only care about themselves. In case you missed it, an ongoing spat has developed between two of the biggest pieces of the Nuggets 2000s era: Carmelo Anthony and George Karl. Melo, in classic Melo style, says outlandish shit about his time in Denver to generate clicks and attention on his favorite subject: Melo. Meanwhile, in classic “Furious George” style, every time Melo says something Karl hops onto twitter to get a good troll job going. And, in classic K-Mart style, Kenyon Martin hops in after the fact to ride the coattails of the other two guys. Frankly, it’s embarrassing and I think I can speak for almost all Nuggets fans when I say we’re sick of it and would like all three gentlemen to kindly shut the hell up.

This beef gained public eyes when Karl put out his autobiography, also titled Furious George, and had some pointed comments about both Anthony & Martin. George also took it way too far, blaming both men’s upbringing by their mothers without a father in the household as a major reason for what Karl felt were character defects. Martin & Melo, rightfully, called George out on that and ever since then it’s been well known that the two biggest pieces to the Nuggets success in the 2000s (and Martin) don’t like each other. The chatter had died down quite a bit but with Carmelo starting his new podcast “7PM in Brooklyn” he’s quickly discovered that talking shit about the Nuggets organization is good for views and listens. In the meantime George has discovered Twitter and now frequents the social media site, often looking to troll (Lakers fans seem to be his favorite target with Melo a close second). So Melo brings up something from the past, George trollishly responds and everybody gets what they want the most: attention.

The latest episode entails Melo talking about how George came in from the beginning of his time at Denver and called Melo overrated. Anthony tells the story of how Karl compared him to Detlef Schrempf which apparently was a massive insult to his ego. Before we go further in this story let’s start with this. Detlef was a fantastic player, a key piece to some great Indiana Pacers and Seattle Supersonics teams in the 90s, a two-time Sixth Man of the Year and even earned a third team All NBA nod. There’s no reason for anyone to disparage one of the greatest European basketball players to ever play the game. That being said, Detlef was not on the same level as Melo, even at that early stage in Melo’s career. Schrempf never led a team to the playoffs as the key piece and the fulcrum of an entire team’s offense, Melo did that consistently throughout the first decade of his career. Carmelo Anthony is a better basketball player than Detlef Schrempf and that should have been pretty clear from day one.

However, Karl is an old school coach from an old school time and he saw a young player that was clearly full of himself and wanted to put him in check. That’s pretty damn common for a coach to do and Melo’s indignation that Karl did it to him demonstrates Melo’s ego and lack of self awareness. Karl also wasn’t the first coach in the NBA to recognize Melo had an ego problem. It doesn’t take a very exhaustive search to find a plethora of material on Melo’s strained relationship with his first coach in the NBA, Jeff Bzdelik. The fact that Bzdelik struggled with rookie Carmelo because the 19 year old thought he was good enough and didn’t need to pay heed to the coaching he was being given is well documented. Mike D’Antoni cited clashes with Melo as a reason for resigning from the New York Knicks, after that the story was that Mike Woodson was a figurehead while the Knicks gave Melo whatever he wanted, and then the rest of Melo’s tenure in the NBA as a star and not a journeyman was spent achieving mediocre results with the admittedly mediocre to bad crop of coaches Phil Jackson kept bringing in to New York. Fact of the matter is, no coach is coming to Melo’s defense right now and that’s not an accident. Carmelo refused to take coaching, refused to focus on anything other than getting his scoring numbers and ultimately shortened his career because he never could accept the idea that maybe he wasn’t the most perfect basketball player ever to play the game.

Karl deserves blame for starting things off on a rocky relationship too though. His coaching career is littered with stories of his inability to connect to his players. Ray Allen, who was with Karl in Milwaukee, has stated publicly that Karl never liked him but also never would address any issues directly with him and that Allen always was finding out about George’s disdain through third parties. It was that fractured relationship that led to Allen being traded and effectively ending any chance of the Bucks winning a title in the early 2000s. George’s history of not being able to relate to his players preceded him in Denver and it doesn’t appear he learned from any of that. Nor does it appear he learned from his time in Denver because Karl also clashed with Demarcus Cousins when he took the Sacramento Kings job after leaving Denver and has never held back letting his disdain for Boogie been known.

The main problem here is neither Melo nor Karl are able to overcome their egos. That’s true of K-Mart as well, who decided to enter himself into the conversation when he was on Gilbert Arenas’ podcast (if there’s coattails to ride, Kenyon is grabbing his saddle). KMart started with discussing about how Melo was coming off a season where he led the team to the playoffs as a rookie and should have been the Rookie of the Year instead of LeBron James (facts). Kenyon’s assertion is that Melo’s rookie season, along with his accomplishments at Syracuse, made it completely out of line for Karl to call Melo overrated on day one. We’ve covered that already but the KMart followed up with something that absolutely should be addressed. He stated that the Nuggets won in spite of George and that George held the team back from winning a championship. While one can certainly argue that Karl’s philosophy of a being a transition based offense and getting out and running to get easy buckets was a flawed approach come playoff time, the idea the Nuggets won in spite of him is ludicrous. Maybe KMart needs to be reminded that the Nuggets had an opportunity to play without Karl in 2010. In February that year it was announced that Karl had been diagnosed with cancer. At the time Denver was the second seed in the west. Karl stepped away, Adrian Dantley took the reigns, the Nuggets plummeted to fourth and had their biggest playoff disappointment of the era, falling down 3-1 in the first round and ultimately losing in six games to a Utah Jazz team on the verge of blowing up their core. No, if we’re going to be honest, Kenyon Martin, not George Karl, not Carmelo Anthony, held this team back more than almost anyone.

The Nuggets paid three first round picks and gave Martin a max contract to be the second star beside Melo and Kenyon was anything but. Some of it is not his fault, his career was marred by knee injuries that were a constant burden and sometimes cost him entire seasons. Other parts of it are his fault though. One of the biggest handicaps Denver had in the playoffs was how easy it was to gameplan in the halfcourt against an offense that had a “star” player who couldn’t shoot outside of 3 feet. KMart never did anything to grow his game in Denver and never even reached the level of player he was in New Jersey. Even his strengths turned out to be less than that when it came to the big moments. Remember the 2009 Western Conference Finals when Karl elected to give KMart, his supposed best defender, the assignment of covering Kobe Bryant and Martin was completely helpless? The “edge” or “nastiness” that KMart brought to the game also manifested itself in ways like threatening to beat up J.R. Smith and quit on the team when Smith pulled an admittedly stupid prank on Martin and filled his car with popcorn. He also was never shy about living up the night life until the wee hours with Melo, even if the Nuggets had a game the next day, be it preseason, regular season or the Conference Finals. Meanwhile, KMart went through all his injuries and issues the Nuggets kept paying him max dollars because absolutely nobody wanted that albatross of a contract. The Nuggets ended up making cost saving moves and letting go of quality players, like Marcus Camby, for nothing because they were so hamstrung by Martin’s contract. He has zero business talking about anyone else holding back that team.

The saddest part of it all is there’s no right side to this. Melo had and still has a massive ego and zero self awareness. Karl had and still has an inability to connect with players and prefers to troll rather than adapt. KMart had and still has an inflated sense of his worth in the NBA. And while all of these “adults” play out their issues on social media like the latest clique in middle school, the fans suffer. The 2000s era is one of the best eras in Nuggets basketball and these guys go through every day shitting all over it because it’s more important to them that their egos get satisfied and they get to say they were right. We may never see Melo or Karl in the rafters because they refuse to let bygones be bygones and instead only bring negative association with one of the most successful decades in franchise history. It’s childish, it’s embarrassing and it’s a disservice to the people who actually have been ride or die for the Nuggets long before any of these guys got here and long after they left. So please Melo, Karl & Kmart, for the sake of the fans, will you just shut the hell up?