• Former NBA coach George Karl’s forthcoming book, “Furious George,” has lived up to its title and it hasn’t even hit bookstores yet.
In it, he criticizes such former players as Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin, all of whom responded with anger or disdain. Karl, among many other things, writes that Anthony and Martin carried two burdens: “All that money and no father to show them how to act like a man.”
He also calls Anthony a “true conundrum” who lacked leadership and — alert the media — defensive effort.
“I never knew I was, what’s the word, a conundrum?” Anthony asked reporters. “I don’t even know what the hell that means, to be honest with you.”
• In the days before Saturday night’s Christmas gift giving, Atlanta star Dwight Howard recalled his childhood and a family that didn’t exchange many gifts.
“As a child, you wanted all the toys and stuff,” he said. “But my grandma wasn’t big on giving us toys, so we were stuck with thermals and socks. I was personally upset at my grandma for giving thermals, but actually now I want thermals because they’re good. I guess she knew what was right and I didn’t.”
• The San Antonio Spurs retired Tim Duncan’s No. 21 jersey, an emotional occasion last week that drew such dignitaries as Atlanta coach and former longtime Spurs assistant coach Mike Budenholzer.
The future Basketball Hall of Famer who showed so little emotion during his career let it almost out.
“Behind the scenes or in the locker room or in practice, he has a lot of personality,” Budenholzer said. “He is incredibly intelligent, incredibly funny. To see him emotional was probably a little out of character. He had so much poise in the biggest moments, when there’s the biggest pressure.“Timmy has a lot to offer. He just doesn’t share it with a lot of people.”