Author: Aaron J. Lopez, Nuggets.com
Nuggets coach George Karl will be the first person to admit that his fashion sense is more faux pas than je ne sais quoi.
He prefers shorts and golf shirts over dress shoes and designer ties, and he often jokes that his clothing choice for the day is determined by what’s on top of the hamper.
When it comes to assisting in the fight against cancer, Karl will meet even the strictest of dress codes.
Karl, who has survived head and neck cancer and prostate cancer in the past six years, will don a tuxedo this weekend when he serves as the guest speaker at a Coaches vs. Cancer fundraiser in Spokane, Wash. It is the 10th year of the event founded by Gonzaga men’s basketball coach Mark Few and his wife Marcy.
“I enjoy speaking about cancer,” Karl said. “It’s become my hobby/ambassadorship, whatever word you want to use. I play amateur sociologist and try to help people become more aware about what is going on.”
Karl, 60, has become extremely educated about cancer treatments, research and funding options since recovering from his latest battle over the past 20 months. He is a spokesman for the Cancer Care Initiative at Swedish Medical Center in Englewood and St. Jude Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. He also is active with the Cancer League of Colorado and the American Cancer Society.
“With all the information and knowledge we have our hands on now, it seems like we spend it in frivolous areas more than real areas,” Karl said. “I’m sure people find good information but sometimes we need a navigator for our information.”
Since its inception in 2002, the Fews have helped raise more than $4.7 million for the American Cancer Society and Washington-area cancer organizations. Their event is the largest Coaches vs. Cancer fundraiser in the country. More than $675,000 has been donated to Camp Goodtimes, a camp held annually for children with cancer.
“It is a huge honor to have coach Karl attend and speak at our event in Spokane,” Mark Few said. “I have always admired him as a coach. He is tenacious, passionate and obviously a tremendous teacher of the game.
“When he spoke out about his fight against cancer, I admired him that much more. What a great example to my wife and I to continue what we are doing and be a voice for those who need our help to raise money to defeat this disease. For coach Karl to take time out of his busy schedule to help us out is huge. It makes our 10th annual event that much more special.”
Karl will participate in a charity golf tournament Saturday and then deliver the keynote speech at a gala later that night. University of Colorado men’s basketball coach Tad Boyle is one of several college coaches scheduled to attend.
“I always enjoy the adventure of being with a lot of college coaches,” Karl said. “It will be an arena of basketball, but it won’t be my arena. We get into heated discussions on the game. I believe we coach different games.”
Karl and Boyle talked hoops recently during a round of golf at Boulder Country Club. Karl and his coaching staff are planning a clinic with Colorado and Wyoming college coaches sometime next month.