Consider, if you will, the role the Denver Nuggets franchise has played in the life of one George Karl.
The Nuggets, have, thanks to an infamous series from 15 years ago, served as the millstone around Karl's neck, the very emblem of his playoff failures. It could be argued that the Sonics' continued first-round playoff debacles in the years following that Denver series may not have happened were it not for the three-game collapse Seattle suffered at the hands of the Nuggets, inasmuch as they planted the seeds of doubt into the minds of the entire roster, not to mention thousands of anxious fans.
And, if Seattle doesn't suffer those failures, basketball historians look back a bit more fondly on George Karl's tenure as a head coach, correct? In fact, if Karl's Sonics had won a couple more playoff series, he doesn't get fired by Wally Walker, doesn't take over the Bucks, get fired by the Bucks, and then get hired by the Nuggets.
All of which leads us to last night's stirring win by Denver - now coached, obviously, by George Karl - over Los Angeles. For if the Nuggets are to pull off a series victory over the heavily favored Lakers, it might be enough to propel Karl into the Hall of Fame, as the list of NBA coaches who have guided two separate franchises to the Finals is about as long as the list of David Souter's girlfriends.
And so, you might argue, if Denver is to pull off the upset, the Denver Nuggets would be - simultaneously - the franchise that held back and then propelled George Karl into the Hall of Fame.