Los Angeles D-Fenders Have a New Coach in Former Laker Coby Karl

Shereen Rayan, Lake Show Life, In The Front Row 4/24/16
Shereen Rayan, Lake Show Life, In The Front Row 4/24/16 /

Last season the Lakers organization lost Kobe Bryant to retirement, and the Black Mamba went out in style. This season there is a new Coby in the Lakers organization, former Lakers former shooting guard Coby Karl.

If Coby Karl’s last name looks familiar, it’s because he is the son of NBA Coach George Karl. The 33-year-old also played in the NBA for eight years, including a year for the Los Angeles D-Fenders and Lakers.

After former D-Fenders head coach Casey Owens was promoted to be a Lakers assistant coach, the void was filled by Karl. Last season, Karl served as an assistant coach for the D-League New York Knicks affiliate, the Westchester Knicks.

Both Coby and his father are cancer survivors. Coby beat thyroid cancer in 2006-07 and played shooting guard for the Los Angeles D-Fenders during the 2007-08 season. The experience of having to survive cancer gave him a new perspective.

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An undrafted free agent from Boise State, Karl made the Lakers 15-man roster, played his first game in 2007, then was assigned to the D-Fenders.

Karl played in 17 games with LA and also with Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers in addition to playing overseas.

TWC Sportsnet aired their first interview with the D-Fenders new head coach. Coach Phil Jackson and his father George Karl both taught him just to be himself. Derek Fisher was the most impactful teammate for Coby, as well as Kobe and his intense practice routines.

Coby says his coaching style is, “To be determined — I think my players will teach me a ton, my coaches will teach me a ton.”

He is a laid back guy who empowers his players to be great, and he will give them the space to figure out who they are. He feels in the D-League, you are so close, yet so far, from playing in the league.

The D-Fenders’ ninth head coach is three years younger than the Lakers’ head coach (33 and 36 respectively). It seems fitting in the way things have been shaping up for the Lakers organization and their trek towards building a new future.

Coby feels he will be able to relate to his players well since he has been in their position trying to make it into the NBA. “I know the energy physically, mentally and spiritually that goes into that,” said Karl, “So I’m hopeful I can translate that to them.”

Here’s a peek at coach Karl’s playing days:

Just this past Friday, Coach Karl was helping out with the Lakers during Yi JIanlian’s press conference. He says he can still play and could fill in and practice with his team.

Coach Karl’s goal is to eventually coach in the NBA like his father who is one of nine coaches who has won 1,000 NBA games. His son only has one year of coaching experience but he has spent endless hours with his father at work, “I grew up in the locker room, with my dad’s coaching staffs, and at practices,” said Coby, “So I always grew up on that side of it.”

Lakers assistant coach Casey Owens left him a team that ended up No. 2 in the league losing the last game of three in the D-League Finals along with team’s lucky brick.

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The Lake Show Life will be covering the D-Fenders this season, and we look forward to bringing you more of this new coach who is living his dreams.