George Karl

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George Karl
George Karl.jpg
Karl in 2011
Personal information
Born (1951-05-12) May 12, 1951 (age 67)
Penn Hills, Pennsylvania
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Listed weight 185 lb (84 kg)
Career information
High school Penn Hills
(Penn Hills, Pennsylvania)
College North Carolina (1970–1973)
NBA draft 1973 / Round: 4 / Pick: 66th overall
Selected by the New York Knicks
Playing career 1973–1978
Position Guard
Number 22
Coaching career 1978–2016
Career history
As player:
19731978 San Antonio Spurs
As coach:
19781980 San Antonio Spurs (assistant)
1980–1983 Montana Golden Nuggets
19841986 Cleveland Cavaliers
19861988 Golden State Warriors
1988–1989 Albany Patroons
1989–1990 Real Madrid
1990–1991 Albany Patroons
1991–1992 Real Madrid
19921998 Seattle SuperSonics
19982003 Milwaukee Bucks
20052013 Denver Nuggets
20152016 Sacramento Kings
Career highlights and awards
Career ABA/NBA statistics
Points 1,703 (6.5 ppg)
Rebounds 369 (1.4 rpg)
Assists 795 (3.0 apg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

George Matthew Karl (born May 12, 1951) is an American former professional basketball coach and former player. He is one of 9 coaches in NBA history to have won 1,000 NBA games, though he never won a championship.

Biography

Karl was born in the Pittsburgh suburb of Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, where he starred at Penn Hills High School.[1] He played collegiately at the University of North Carolina for three years. Drafted in the fourth round of 1973 NBA draft by the New York Knicks, Karl opted instead to sign with the ABA's San Antonio Spurs. He spent three years as the team's starting point guard, playing with George Gervin. After the Spurs joined the NBA in 1976, Karl played limited minutes over the next two years, retiring as a player in 1978.

Early coaching career

After his playing career, Karl spent two years with the Spurs coaching staff as an assistant coach. He was then named head coach of the Montana Golden Nuggets of the Continental Basketball Association. As coach of the Golden Nuggets, Karl guided the team to the CBA Finals in 1981 and 1983, winning Coach of the Year both seasons.[2]

In 1984, Karl returned to the NBA, when he became the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. In his first season he took them back to the playoffs for the first time in six seasons. He was dismissed by the Cavaliers after a disappointing 25–42 start in his second season with the team, though Cleveland would finish just 29–53 on the season. For the remainder of the 1985–86 season and early portion of the offseason, Karl worked as a scout and adviser to the Milwaukee Bucks.[3]

Karl was named head coach of the Golden State Warriors in 1986; he took them from a record of 30–52 the year before, to the playoffs for the first time in ten years.[4] In the first round of the playoffs, they faced the Utah Jazz in a best–of–five series. Each team won two close games at home setting up a decisive game 5 in Utah that the Warriors won to advance to the playoff semifinals.

Matched up in the semifinals against the Los Angeles Lakers, who had won three championships in the past seven seasons, Karl's team was expected to be swept by the much more experienced Lakers, and promptly lost the first three games. Facing elimination in game 4, the Warriors overcame a 12–point fourth quarter deficit and won 129–121.[5] Game 4 was the only game the Lakers lost in the Western Conference playoffs that year, en route to the first of their back–to–back championships.

During the 1987–88 season, the Warriors got off to a rough start, and team management decided to trade Purvis Short, Sleepy Floyd and Joe Barry Carroll in order to save money and get younger. With Chris Mullin going through alcohol rehabilitation, Karl was now without his top four scorers from the 1987 playoff team.[6] Frustrated with the team's direction, he resigned from the Warriors with 18 games left in the season.[7] Though he resigned, there has been speculation Karl was actually fired,[8] as he signed a non-disclosure agreement and received a buyout of his contract.[9]

On September 5, 1988, Karl was named head coach of the Albany Patroons of the CBA,[10] leading them to a 36–18 record. In 1989, Karl coached Real Madrid of Liga ACB. Madrid finished 69–17, though they dealt with the death of their best player, Fernando Martín Espina.[11] Real Madrid came third in the Spanish league, were Spanish cup semifinalists, and lost the final of the Saporta Cup, Europe's second most important cup competition.

Karl returned to coach the Patroons in 1990, leading them to a 50–6 season, while winning all 28 home games. For his efforts, Karl was named CBA Coach of the Year for the third time.[12] Karl then returned to Real Madrid for the 1991–92 season, until he left to return to the NBA.[13] Real Madrid won the Saporta Cup, came second in the Spanish league, and lost in the quarterfinals of the Spanish cup.

Seattle SuperSonics

On January 23, 1992, Karl was named head coach of the Seattle SuperSonics, replacing K. C. Jones. Karl led a late season surge going 27–15, and entering the playoffs as the sixth seed.[14] In the first round, they upset his former team, the Golden State Warriors in four games. They lost in the second round to the Utah Jazz.

In his second (and first full) season as the SuperSonics coach, the team improved their 47–35 record to 55–27, and qualified for the playoffs as the #3 seed in the Western Conference. They defeated the Utah Jazz 3–2 in the first round, and defeated the Houston Rockets 4–3 in the semifinals. Seattle lost in the Western Conference Finals to the Charles Barkley–led Phoenix Suns in a full seven game series, falling just one game short of the NBA Finals.

The following season, Seattle won 63 games and its first Pacific Division title since their 1979 championship season. Despite a rift with mid-season acquisition Kendall Gill,[15] Karl led the Sonics to the top seed in the Western Conference. Playing the eighth–seeded Denver Nuggets in the opening round of the playoffs, Seattle won their first two games at home, but lost the following three, including the closing game at home, to become the first top seed to lose to an eighth-seed in the playoffs history.

The 1994–95 season had a similar result when Seattle suffered another first–round loss after finishing the season 57–25. This time, Karl's fourth-seed SuperSonics were defeated by the fifth–seeded Los Angeles Lakers led by point guard Nick Van Exel, who clashed with Karl during the 1993 NBA rookie workouts.[16] Fans and media called for Karl's dismissal after his back-to-back first round losses,[17] but the team instead traded the disgruntled Kendall Gill to Charlotte for Hersey Hawkins, showing a sign of confidence in Karl.[18]

Karl responded to the disappointing playoff exits with the best regular season in SuperSonics history, posting a 14–game winning streak between February and March to finish the 1995–96 season with a franchise best 64–18 record. Led by All-Stars Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton, the later named Defensive Player of the Year, the SuperSonics defeated the Sacramento Kings three games to one in the first round, and then swept the two-time reigning champions Houston Rockets to advance to the Western Conference Finals. They defeated the Utah Jazz in seven games to advance to their first NBA Finals since 1979.

In the NBA Finals, the SuperSonics met the 72–10 Chicago Bulls. Seattle was out-matched by Michael Jordan's scoring, Dennis Rodman's rebounding and the Bulls' team defense, and quickly found themselves in a 0-3 deficit and facing a sweep. Karl and the SuperSonics responded with a 21–point game 4 blowout win and a narrow win in game 5, to narrow the series deficit to 3–2. The Bulls would win the series and game 6 in Chicago. The 64 wins and Finals appearance marked what was undoubtedly the zenith of Karl's coaching career.

Seattle amassed a 118-46 record during the next two seasons, winning the Pacific Division title both years. Seattle overcame a 3-1 deficit to force a game 7 against Houston in the second round of the 1997 NBA Playoffs, but was defeated. The following year, Seattle fell swiftly to the Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals. The back-to-back second round playoff exits and his deteriorating relationship with general manager Wally Walker [19] led to Karl's eventual dismissal before the 1998-99 season.

The SuperSonics went 384-150 and averaged 59 wins per season under Karl, second only to Chicago during that span.[20] He took Seattle to the playoffs in all seven seasons of his tenure. The SuperSonics won four division championships and twice finished with the best record in the Western Conference. Despite regular season success, Karl's SuperSonics managed only a 40-40 postseason record, and advanced to the NBA Finals just once.

Milwaukee Bucks

On August 30, 1998, Karl was named head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, lured by a particularly lucrative contract offer.[21] Coming to a team that had not made the playoffs in seven seasons, Karl helped rebuild the struggling organization by making the playoffs in each of his first three seasons, steadily increasing their win totals.

In his first two seasons they lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Indiana Pacers; after losing in a three game sweep his first season, the Bucks lost three games to two in his second season. In his third season, Karl guided the Bucks, led by a "Big Three" of Glenn Robinson, Ray Allen and Sam Cassell to their first division championship in 15 years, which culminated with an appearance in the 2001 Eastern Conference Finals (they lost in seven games).

The Bucks entered his fourth season with high expectations, however they finished ninth place in the conference and missed the playoffs. Seeded as high as fourth in the conference halfway through the season, the Bucks collapsed and were eliminated from the playoffs in the final regular season game. Dealing with injuries, Karl was also reportedly at odds with Robinson and Allen.[22]

Following the season, Robinson was traded to Atlanta.[23] At the 2002-03 trade deadline, Allen was traded to Seattle for Gary Payton.[24] Though Payton and Karl had success together in Seattle and the move allowed more minutes for Michael Redd, it made Cassell the odd man out[25] and broke up a core that was within one game of the NBA Finals just two years prior.[26]

The Bucks finished the 2002-03 season 42-40 to qualify for the playoffs, though they were eliminated in the first round in six games. Karl pushed for the team to draft point guard TJ Ford, making Cassell expendable and he was traded to Minnesota.[27] GM Ernie Grunfeld, who was arguably Karl's biggest supporter in Milwaukee, left the team shortly after the draft, and new GM Larry Harris decided to move the team in a new direction and fire Karl.[28] The Bucks have not won a playoff series and have had limited success since Karl's departure, though their downward spiral arguably started with his decisions to trade his star players.[29]

He coached the US national team in the 2002 FIBA World Championship.[30]

Denver Nuggets

On January 27, 2005, the Denver Nuggets named Karl their head coach, taking over from interim head coach Michael Cooper (who stayed on as an assistant coach).[31] Karl made an immediate impact on the Nuggets, taking a team floundering at 17–25 to a 32–8 record in the second half of the 2004–05 season to finish 49–33. They lost in the playoffs to the San Antonio Spurs, who went on to win the NBA Championship that season.

On July 27, 2005, the Nuggets announced that Karl had prostate cancer, but was cleared to continue coaching after he had surgery.[32] He led the Nuggets to the Northwest division title that season, Denver's first in 18 years.[33]

Karl was criticized for his role in the Knicks–Nuggets brawl on December 16, 2006, allegedly trying to run up the score and humiliate Isiah Thomas by keeping his starting players in the final minutes of a blowout win.[34][35][36] On December 28, 2006, Karl became just the 12th coach in NBA history to reach 800 wins when the Nuggets defeated the SuperSonics 112–98. Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson were named All–Stars that season, Denver's first All-Star selections since 2001.

Karl with the Nuggets in 2009

During the 2008–09 season, the Nuggets, led by Karl, Carmelo Anthony, and the newly acquired Chauncey Billups tied a franchise–best 54 wins and entered the playoffs as the Western Conference's #2 seed. On April 27, 2009, the Nuggets handed the Hornets a 58–point loss during Game 4 of their first round playoff series. This tied the biggest margin in NBA playoff history[37] The Nuggets beat the Mavericks in 5 games during the semifinals, then went on to lose to the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers in 6 games, losing Game 6 by 27.[38]

Karl coached the Western Conference All–Stars at the 2010 NBA All-Star Game on February 14 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.[39] This was his fourth selection, and his first since leaving Seattle.

After the 2010 NBA All-Star Game, it was revealed in a press conference that Karl was diagnosed with treatable neck and throat cancer.[40] He was placed on leave of absence from the Nuggets for the remainder of the season while receiving treatment. Assistant coach Adrian Dantley filled in as acting head coach, and the team finished poorly, going from the second to fourth seed, and lost their first round playoff series.[41]

Karl went through chemotherapy treatments,[42] and coached every game of the 2010–11 season, becoming the seventh NBA coach to record 1,000 career wins on December 10, 2010.[43][44] During the season, Carmelo Anthony requested and was granted a trade to New York, and Karl was now coaching a considerably younger and less experienced team.[45]

Without Anthony, Denver's leading scorer for seven years, Karl put an emphasis on team-oriented play. In their first full season without Anthony, the Nuggets finished the regular season leading the league in points per game (104.12) and assists per game (23.96),[46] though they were also near the bottom of the league in defensive rating. They pushed their first–round playoff series against the Lakers to seven games, but were defeated

The newly acquired Andre Iguodala immediately helped the team's defense, and the Nuggets finished with their best record since joining the NBA in 1977, at 57–25. Noted for his efforts in bringing the team together without Carmelo Anthony, their offensive success with a traditional go–to–scorer, and his leadership for the league's third-youngest team (with an average age of 24.9 years), Karl was awarded his first NBA Coach of the Year Award for the 2012–13 season.[47][48]

The Nuggets and Karl's historic season came to a disappointing end with a first–round playoff loss to the Golden State Warriors in six games. The Nuggets were without their second–leading scorer Danilo Gallinari, who was out with an ACL injury.[49] The series was noted for its controversy, with Warriors coach Mark Jackson admitting he had "inside information" on Denver's playing style.[50] Karl alleged Iguodala was the "mole" for the Warriors, which fueled speculation when he agreed to a four–year contract with Golden State following the playoff loss.[51][52]

Following Denver GM Masai Ujiri's departure, Karl pushed the Nuggets for a contract extension, as he was entering the final season of his contract.[53] On June 6, 2013, Karl was fired by Denver, just 29 days after he was named Coach of the Year.[48][54]

He left the Nuggets with a 423-257 record, just nine wins shy of Doug Moe's franchise–record 432 wins. Similar to his stint in Seattle, Karl's regular season success was overshadowed by playoff disappointments, as the Nuggets advanced out of the first round of the playoffs just once in his nine seasons.[48][55] Following Karl's firing, Denver posted three consecutive losing seasons.

Sacramento Kings

On February 12, 2015, after several weeks of talks and speculation, Karl agreed to a deal to become the head coach of the Sacramento Kings, after signing a four-year, $15 million contract.[56][57] He was officially introduced by the Kings on February 17.[58] In his first season as coach the Kings went 11–19 in 30 games.

On April 14, 2016, Karl was fired by the Kings after a disappointing 2015–16 season in which the Kings went 33–49.[59][60] Karl was also only one game shy from coaching his 2,000th game in the NBA.

Personal life

Karl's son, Coby, played as a starting point guard for Boise State, and has since played in the NBA and other leagues. Coby Karl is a thyroid cancer survivor.[61] Karl also has two daughters, Kelci and Kaci.[62]

Philanthropy

Karl is an avid supporter of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and serves as an ambassador for their Hoops for St. Jude basketball initiative.[63]

NBA coaching record

Legend
Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win–loss %
Post season PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win–loss %
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
Cleveland 1984–85 82 36 46 .439 4th in Central 4 1 3 .250 Lost in First Round
Cleveland 1985–86 67 25 42 .373 (fired)
Golden State 1986–87 82 42 40 .512 3rd in Pacific 10 4 6 .400 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
Golden State 1987–88 64 16 48 .250 (fired)
Seattle 1991–92 42 27 15 .643 4th in Pacific 9 4 5 .444 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
Seattle 1992–93 82 55 27 .671 2nd in Pacific 19 10 9 .526 Lost in Conf. Finals
Seattle 1993–94 82 63 19 .768 1st in Pacific 5 2 3 .400 Lost in First Round
Seattle 1994–95 82 57 25 .695 2nd in Pacific 4 1 3 .250 Lost in First Round
Seattle 1995–96 82 64 18 .780 1st in Pacific 21 13 8 .619 Lost in NBA Finals
Seattle 1996–97 82 57 25 .695 1st in Pacific 12 6 6 .500 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
Seattle 1997–98 82 61 21 .744 T-1st in Pacific 10 4 6 .400 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
Milwaukee 1998–99 50 28 22 .560 4th in Central 3 0 3 .000 Lost in First Round
Milwaukee 1999–2000 82 42 40 .512 5th in Central 5 2 3 .400 Lost in First Round
Milwaukee 2000–01 82 52 30 .634 1st in Central 18 10 8 .250 Lost in Conf. Finals
Milwaukee 2001–02 82 41 41 .500 5th in Central Missed Playoffs
Milwaukee 2002–03 82 42 40 .512 4th in Central 6 2 4 .333 Lost in First Round
Denver 2004–05 40 32 8 .800 2nd in Northwest 5 1 4 .200 Lost in First Round
Denver 2005–06 82 44 38 .537 1st in Northwest 5 1 4 .200 Lost in First Round
Denver 2006–07 82 45 37 .549 2nd in Northwest 5 1 4 .200 Lost in First Round
Denver 2007–08 82 50 32 .610 2nd in Northwest 4 0 4 .000 Lost in First Round
Denver 2008–09 82 54 28 .659 1st in Northwest 16 10 6 .625 Lost in Conf. Finals
Denver 2009–10 82 53 29 .646 1st in Northwest 6 2 4 .250 Lost in First Round
Denver 2010–11 82 50 32 .644 2nd in Northwest 5 1 4 .200 Lost in First Round
Denver 2011–12 66 38 28 .576 2nd in Northwest 7 3 4 .429 Lost in First Round
Denver 2012–13 82 57 25 .695 2nd in Northwest 6 2 4 .333 Lost in First Round
Sacramento 2014–15 30 11 19 .367 4th in Pacific Missed Playoffs
Sacramento 2015–16 82 33 49 .402 3rd in Pacific Missed Playoffs
Career 1999 1175 824 .588 185 80 105 .432

See also

References

  1. ^ Finder, Chuck (June 13, 1996). "They Can't Forget Karl". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  2. ^ The Humble Great Falls Beginnings of Two Prominent NBA Head Coaches
  3. ^ When George Karl Screams......Warriors Listen—Even, At Times, Chris Washburn
  4. ^ A New JB and Some D: Add George Karl's Coaching and You Have the Key Ingredients in Warriors' Resurgence
  5. ^ Hardwood Classics: 1987 Western Conference Semifinals
  6. ^ 1987–88 Golden State Warriors Roster and Stats | Basketball-Reference.com
  7. ^ Ellensburg Daily Record – Google News Archive Search
  8. ^ The sudden resignation of Golden State Coach George Karl
  9. ^ KARL RECALLS HIS GOLDEN STATE MEMORIES
  10. ^ The Albany Patroons, the defending Continental Basketball Association champions...named former NBA coach George Karl as coach.
  11. ^ George Karl: Don't Judge A Book By Its Controversy
  12. ^ History of the Albany Patroons
  13. ^ Love & Basketball For Milwaukee Bucks coach George Karl, romance--and an NBA career--are clearly better the second time around
  14. ^ George Karl is hired to coach SuperSonics on January 23, 1992
  15. ^ Kendall Gill Left a Bad Reputation, and Depression, in Seattle
  16. ^ 'I KNOW HE'S GONE OFF BEFORE' PEOPLE WHO KNOW THE LAKERS' NICK VAN EXEL SAY HIS RECENT BLOWUP WAS MERELY THE LATEST IN A SERIES OF DISTURBING INCIDENTS
  17. ^ 1995 N.B.A. PLAYOFFS; Sonics Coach Pushed to the Brink Again
  18. ^ NO LOVE LOST BETWEEN GILL & EX-COACH
  19. ^ http://www.seattletimes.com/sports/nba/love-him-or-hate-him-wally-walker-is-still-involved-with-sonics/
  20. ^ http://www.nba.com/coachfile/george_karl/
  21. ^ Bucks hire George Karl as new coach
  22. ^ Karl says things are fine between him and Robinson
  23. ^ Bucks Trade Robinson to Hawks for Kukoc, Smith
  24. ^ Bucks acquire Payton from Sonics
  25. ^ Bucks will live & die with odd couple
  26. ^ Allen says trade from Bucks motivated him
  27. ^ PRO BASKETBALL; In Fallout From Draft, Bucks Trade Cassell
  28. ^ Unrelenting ego costs exceptional Karl his job
  29. ^ George Karl: We probably shouldn't have gotten rid of Ray Allen
  30. ^ 2002 USA Basketball Archived July 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  31. ^ Nuggets Hire Karl to Right the Ship
  32. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/06/sports/ncaabasketball/06karl.html
  33. ^ "Nuggets 110, Trail Blazers 98 – NBA – Yahoo! Sports". Yahoo! Sports. April 11, 2006. Retrieved May 18, 2012.
  34. ^ Araton, Harvey (December 19, 2006). "As Thomas Takes Heat, Karl Escapes Scrutiny". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
  35. ^ Vecsey, Peter (December 18, 2006). "Nuggets' Karl also earned ban". New York Post. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
  36. ^ May, Peter (December 19, 2006). "The Stern reality -- 7 players suspended". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
  37. ^ Game 4 Recap
  38. ^ 2009 Western Conf. Finals Recap
  39. ^ NBA.com: Nuggets' Karl to coach West in 2010 All-Star Game Archived 2010-02-01 at the Wayback Machine.
  40. ^ NBA.com: Nuggets coach Karl to miss time after cancer resurfaces Archived 2015-12-13 at the Wayback Machine.
  41. ^ 2010 Utah Series Recap
  42. ^ George Karl's glad to be back from battle with cancer
  43. ^ "George Karl gets his 1,000th win in the NBA". DeseretNews.com. Associated Press. December 10, 2010. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  44. ^ "George Karl earns 1,000th win as Nuggets edge Raptors". ESPN. December 11, 2010. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  45. ^ "George Karl Glad Carmelo Saga Is Over – RealGM Wiretap". basketball.realgm.com. Retrieved February 25, 2011.
  46. ^ https://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/DEN/2012.html
  47. ^ "Nuggets' Karl nabs his first NBA Coach of Year award" (Press release). NBA. May 8, 2013. Archived from the original on June 6, 2013.
  48. ^ a b c Thomsen, Ian (June 6, 2013). "Nuggets face uncertain summer with George Karl, Masai Ujiri gone". SI.com. Archived from the original on June 6, 2013.
  49. ^ Danilo Gallinari out for season
  50. ^ http://www.espn.com/nba/playoffs/2013/story/_/id/9230227/2013-nba-playoffs-mark-jackson-golden-state-warriors-accuses-denver-nuggets-dirty-play
  51. ^ George Karl: Andre Iguodala was a 'mole' for Warriors in playoffs
  52. ^ George Karl rips Mark Jackson's 'bush' tactics, identifies Andre Iguodala as 'mole'
  53. ^ George Karl fired: NBA's Coach of the Year dumped by Denver Nuggets
  54. ^ Wojnarowski, Adrian (June 6, 2013). "Nuggets fire coach George Karl". yahoo.com. Archived from the original on June 6, 2013.
  55. ^ "George Karl will not return as Nuggets coach in 2013-14". NBA.com. June 6, 2013. Archived from the original on June 6, 2013.
  56. ^ Kings Reach Agreement in Principle with George Karl to Become Team's Head Coach
  57. ^ George Karl to coach Kings
  58. ^ Kings Name George Karl Head Coach
  59. ^ "George Karl Not to Return as Kings Head Coach for 2016-17 Season". NBA.com. April 14, 2016. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  60. ^ "Kings fire George Karl". ESPN.com. April 14, 2016. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  61. ^ Coby Karl stands out at charity event
  62. ^ George Karl. NBA.com coaching profile.
  63. ^ Jude, St. (2012-03-05). "Coach George Karl". St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. p. 1. Retrieved 2012-03-05.

External links

  • NBA coaching profile
  • Career stats (coach)
  • Career statistics and player information from Basketball-Reference.com
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