Hall of Famer, Former Supersonics Coach Visits Centralia for Autograph Signing


Fresh off being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last September, former Seattle Supersonics head coach George Karl visited Keiper’s Cards in downtown Centralia on Friday afternoon to meet enthusiastic fans and sign autographs. 

Aside from coaching five different NBA teams, including the Supersonics, Karl also played basketball and was a star at the University of North Carolina in the early 1970s. Although he was drafted by the New York Knicks in 1973, he chose to play in the American Basketball Association instead for the San Antonio Spurs before the league merged with the NBA. 

He then began his coaching career in 1978 as an assistant coach for the Spurs, and aside from the Supersonics, was also the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets and Sacramento Kings. 

Along with Hall of Fame players Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, Karl coached his way to the 1995-1996 NBA Finals but lost the championship to the legendary 72-10 Chicago Bulls led by Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman. 

He ended his time coaching the Supersonics with a record of 384 wins to 150 losses, second only to the Bulls during that timespan in the 1990s. 

Approximately 25 people were lined up waiting for his arrival outside of Keiper’s Cards on Friday, many bringing their old Supersonics memorabilia for Karl to sign, with more arriving looking for the chance to meet the coach. 

While Karl has floated the idea of returning to coaching if the Supersonics were resurrected, he told fans that right now it’s all still just rumors on whether the team will actually be brought back in an NBA expansion effort. 

He also added he believes his coaching days are behind him now, as it takes a lot more energy than people think to be an NBA head coach. 

In all, Karl spent about an hour talking with fans about not only his time as a coach but also as a player. Owner of Keiper’s Cards, Dan Keiper, hopes to have Karl return for more autograph signings, as well as other athletes and coaches. Follow Keiper’s Cards on Facebook for updates. 

Keiper’s Cards is located at 320 N. Tower Ave., suite 104, and is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Mondays.