L.A. Times: Trying to make the Lakers as an undrafted rookie out of Boise State is one definition of pressure, although it tends to be less daunting when stacked up next to Coby Karl’s life experiences off the court.
Being treated for cancer, twice, by age 24 has a way of prioritizing what’s important in life.
Karl, trying to earn the 15th and final spot on the Lakers’ roster, had led a charmed existence as the son of Denver Nuggets Coach George Karl, receiving an early education in basketball and getting the opportunity to scrimmage with NBA players during slow summer days as a high schooler in Wisconsin. (The elder Karl coached the Milwaukee Bucks from 1998 to 2003.)
Then came the words that interrupted his junior season at Boise State. A lump that appeared in his neck was diagnosed as papillary carcinoma.
“When I heard my doctor say it was cancer, I kind of froze,” Karl said.
It was treatable, and Karl underwent surgery in March 2006 to have his thyroid gland removed.
He did not tell his Boise State teammates until a few days before the surgery because he did not want them distracted as they approached postseason play. He told them the day their season ended after losing to Louisiana Tech in the Western Athletic Conference tournament.