An ode to Kevin Garnett

“I’m a fucking wild man right now!!”

–          Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now, to pay tribute to Kevin Garnett, inarguably one of the best players of his generation.

Let’s say you had to describe Kevin Garnett to someone who had never before watched a basketball game, yet laid eyes on him for the first time.  What words would you use?  Would frightening be one of them?  Intense?  Driven?  One-of-a-kind?  All of those would be appropriate since after all, Garnett helped redefine the modern game in a number of ways.  He was one of the first of this generation to come straight out of high school, make an impact, in a small market and warrant big money, Garnett money.

Was he a center?  Certainly not.  At 6’11”, he was tall enough but he couldn’t have weighed more than a buck-eighty five.  Was he a power forward?  Again, too frail.  Was he a small forward?  Nah, too tall.  So what was he, other than a freak of nature?

Seventeen years later, Garnett is still a freak of nature and proud of it.  In Boston’s last playoff series, Atlanta Hawks co-owner, Michael Gearon, Jr., who nobody outside of Atlanta had heard of before his ill-advised comments, called Garnett a “dirty player.”   Wrong thing to do.  Garnett responded with 28 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks.  He later publicly thanked Gearon for inspiring him.  Remember that scene from Teen Wolf where Michael J. Fox’s father growls at the principal, causing him to instantly soil himself?  Exactly.  Garnett, the werewolf.

At one point in Game Two against the Philadelphia 76ers, with his Celtics on the verge of winning a game they eventually lost, Garnett received an alley-oop pass from Rajon Rondo with Evan Turner directly underneath him.  Garnett hung on the rim longer than normally allowed, ensuring he didn’t come down on top of Turner, but the statement was made.  After finally landing, Garnett muttered to his teammates, probably louder than a mutter in the jam-packed Fleet Center, “I’m a fucking wild man right now!”

Who says these things?  Kevin Garnett, that’s who, and he means every word of it.

I have long admired Garnett for his intensity, his energy and his uncompromising nature.  There’s a reason he’s 35 years old and still weighs 220 pounds, soaking wet.  His metabolism must be off the charts.  If you could bottle what drives Garnett and sell it, Five Hour Energy would be out of business in a week, after of course the FDA diluted his Garnettness to make it safe for public consumption.

High energy guys like me will always have a soft spot in our heart for Garnett.  He wants to win every time out.  He wears his emotions on his sleeve and refuses to apologize for it.  Garnett cares not about numbers, even though he’s the second active leading scorer (behind Kobe) and active league leader in rebounds.  He might say he doesn’t care what those outside his locker room think of him but that’s a lie.  Gearon bothered him and he made him pay.

But Gearon got it wrong.  Garnett’s not dirty at all.  He’s just plain old nasty.  And he can play on my team any day of the week.

34 thoughts on “An ode to Kevin Garnett

  1. Pingback: An ode to Kevin Garnett - BallHyped, NBA | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  2. Sure he can play on your team. But sorry pal, he plays on my team. Its not every day that an athlete comes along that has BOTH a large amount of talent and an even larger amount of passion for the game. The only other athlete that comes to mind is Pete Rose and that is fine company.

  3. The “Big Ticket” has stayed out of trouble during his career also. I agree, he is one of the best/my favorite from the past 15 years.

  4. Garnett is scary looking in a sort of skeletor maniac sort of way, but Patrick Ewing had the look of a physco killer who just met his next victim.

  5. This might be the first time we are (at least somewhat) in disagreement Rev. I agree that there is a side to Garnett that is passionate and energetic but I think you also have to recognize the other side of Garnett.

    Garnett took the money and could not deliver a championship or even a deep playoff run for the T-Wolves. Time after time, he came up short and could not be a leader. Just like Lebron had to go to Miami to join forces with Wade and Bosh, Garnett had to go to Boston to team up with Pierce and Ray Allen. Considering that group of talent (that also includes a top-five PG in Rondo) it is an underwhelming group that should have delivered more than one championship.

    Additionally, Garnett is a bit of a punk bitch. This is someone who is known to cheap shot guys that are smaller and weaker (although he pisses his pants around players close to equally as big and strong), goes beyond trash talk (see Vilanueva, Charlie) and consistently is voted BY HIS PEERS as one of the dirtiest and least liked players.

    Face it, he is the least-liked player on the least-liked team. No one outside of Boston can root for that collections of floppers, complainers and miscreants and Garnett is the leader of the pack.

    It’s just a shame that a class act like Ray Allen has toswim in the sewer with Garnett, Pierce and Rondo.

  6. Snake…

    Garnett’s also fifth in active blocked shots. He’ll be a top 20 scorer when it’s all said and done, assuming he comes back next season, which he should, unless the Celtics win it all this year. Then he might just ride off into the sunset.

    One thing you can never say about Garnett is that he didn’t give it his all, every second, of every play, and as sports fans, isn’t that all we could ask for?

  7. Exactly, D.

    In this day and age of athletes getting into bar fight, fathering illegitimate children, elbowing opponents, charging into the stands and basically starving for media attention, here we have KG, who by no means is flawless but we have yet to see a mugshot of the guy.

  8. Interesting that you bring those two up, Aer, as Garnett is only 600 points away from surpassing Patrick Ewing as 21st all-time leading scorer in NBA history.

    Which do you think will go down as a better player, however? That’s certainly grounds for debate, no?

  9. Big Poppa chiming in. You know I love me some healthy debate, brother.

    Two things about the LeBron-Cleveland/Garnett-Minnesota comparison.

    First of all, it was widely perceived that Garnett had given it his all in Minnesota, left it all on the floor, a la Barkley or Iverson in Philadelphia. Those two guys went ringless, yet are still first ballot Hall of Famers. It’s why everybody understood when KG finally left Minnesota. Trust me, it’ll happen to Kevin Love eventually too.

    The same can’t be said for LeBron. Sure, he had the whole Akron thing going on but still, Cleveland wanted more, and they didn’t get it.

    It can also be argued that LeBron had more talented teams than KG. And before you suggest it, I’d hardly qualify Stephon Marbury as a superstar wingman. The best team KG had was probably the one with Cassell and Spreewell. Was that team better than the Cavs team LeBron took to the Finals?

    I’ll agree with you that the Villanueva comments were out of line but as far as joining forces with Allen and Pierce, it wasn’t like those guys were compiling rings either.

    As far as underachieving in Boston with the other Big Two, in four years, they’ve won one title, made it to the Finals another time where they lost a Game Seven in Los Angeles with their starting center injured, and they are staring down another late playoff run this year. That’s not all that bad.

    Does Snake or anyone else care to take a shot at Poppa Frank? This could get ugly.

  10. Hey Frank. So you think KG is a punk bitch? I’d pay to watch you get your ass kicked by that punk bitch. Its easy to act tough when you have the anonymous internet to hide behind. I don’t know you but with all the hate that you’re spewing, I’d guess that you must be from Philadelphia, home of the country’s worst fans.

  11. Few things…slightly off topic.

    IMO the best player in the league is Kobe Bryant…has been for the past 10 years.

    I also don’t think Lebron is even the best player on his own team. Great player for sure, but his game has holes…mental issues.

    It is very hard for 1 superstar to win a championship on his own. Jordan had Pippen, Black Mamba and Shaq had each other, Bird had a whole team full of good players and so forth. I don’t think KG had any real teams built to win in Minnesota…so why not leave and try to win?

    I don’t know about KG being dirty…maybe he is dirty, but I know he wants to win…probably more than Lebron…just going off of the effort I see between the two!

  12. Hi Snake,

    I am exactly the type of person that Garnett would go after. I’m old, fat and out of shape. Now if I was younger and built like Rasheed Wallace or Ben Wallace or even Gerald Wallace, KG would back down because he is a punk.

    Go to Google and search “Kevin Garnett and NBA’s most disliked player” and your computer will explode. You will see where Garnett ranked in an NBA PLAYER POLL. Not a fan poll, not a media poll but A PLAYER POLL. The players that play against him night in and night out say he is the dirtiest and least liked player in the NBA.

    I am not anaonymous. Rev knows me. I blogged for years on Fox Sports Dot Com and I did an Internet radio show for Blog Talk Radio that was promoted by Fox Sports. My name is Frank Irizarry and I am a Professor at Suffolk University. I actually live in BOSTON and not Philadelphia. I happen to agree with you Snake that Phily fans are the worst of all time.

    Look, I give Garnett his due. He plays hard, has a lot of intensity and most of what Rev had to say was absolutely true. All I’m saying is KG is a complex dude and if you are going to agree with his Yin, you better recognize the yang that I’m talking about.

    I’m science fact while you’re just dealing with science fiction. Recognize the whole truth brother!

  13. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a fight.

    IN THIS CORNERRRRRRRRRRRR……

    Children, children, can’t we all just get along?

    Frank, Snake is an unapologetic Celtics homer, and has been for years. He’s knowledgeable about the game yet often biased, as he should be as his team, and he’ll gladly tell you this, is the winningest in all of professional basketball.

    Snake, Frank is a former co-writer and debate professor, trained to get under ones’ skin. He obviously still has his touch.

    Look, Frank is really the only one among us who, while obviously still respecting Garnett, clearly doesn’t care for him all that much, and that’s okay. I’m pretty sure, if given the choice, he’d still want him on his team. Nobody says he needs to be liked to be great.

    Now can’t we just kiss, light up a stogie and make up, or keep going at it. I’m cool with that too. Makes for entertaining reading.

    Lost in all the bickering, by the way, is the fact that the Celtics are two wins away from the Eastern Conference Finals.

  14. D…

    After watching tonight’s game, Kobe with two key turnovers late (even though they only gave him one, that ball that went through his hands he should have caught), he was unable to close Game Two, up seven with two to play.

    It has become clear that Kobe is no longer the best player in the game. That honor now goes to Kevin Durant. Not LeBron. Not Wade. As a buddy texted me earlier, Durant does not fear the moment one bit. 22,7,5 and 2 tonight, 9-of-15 from the floor.

    The torch is being passed right before our very eyes and if LeBron doesn’t want it, Durant sure as hell is gonna take it.

  15. Greetings Rev and Snake:

    I can totally understand being a homer for your team. Living in Boston and listening to Boston Sports Radio you see/hear the “bostoncentrism” from a passionate fan base. It’s all Boston all of the time. It’s the reason we don’t have a full, dedicated ESPN, Fox Sports Radio or Yahoo/Sporting New Radio affiliate in town. Boston sports fans are all Boston, all the time.

    Criticizing a Boston player to a Boston fan is a lot like criticizing a guy’s wife. He can bitch about his wife but you’d better not.

    You are 100% correct Rev that KG is a passionate player, he plays hard, his teammates love him, Boston fans love him and of course I’d want him on my team. All I was trying to say is that KG is an odd, mildly complex dude. For all of those positives about KG he does have a reputation for being a bit of a “punk bitch” at times and he is not particularly liked by opposing players. I can’t believe I said anything that was particularly new or groundbreaking.

    Sorry is I pissed you off Snake, it was certainly not my intention.

    Now for Durant grabbing the torch from Kobe while LeBron stands in the corner and watches…100% agreement. Durant is so good, so clutch at such a young age. Some day the Blazers may regret passing on Durant even more than passing on MJ!

  16. Chris
    Repeatedly when they mention the “dirtiest players” in the NBA Garnett’s name is seemingly atop of that list or at least top 5 or top 10. He says it’s <b< "his passion" , some see it otherwise . I think it falls somewhere in-between !

    And thanks for the comment with regard to my NBA and the Knicks . While in part I agree I think it unlikely Phil’ll l come out retirement to coach the Knicks ! His health issues notwithstanding , he has repeatedly said he wants to be around his kids and grandchildren , having repeatedly missed so much about them growing up , as he devoted so much of his time to his career. It led to the dissolving of his marriage because of his eagerness in that pursuit of success. He’s now done it all , so why go to franchise that’s in such disarray to begin with ? I mean , were you in his place would you take that Knicks’ job knowing the current mess that they’re in ? Besides , if I’m Phil , there’s no way in hell I’m getting out of bed when I’ve got Jeanie Buss wanting to do some ungodly and nasty sexual things to me 24/7 ! That’s my take and I’m sticking with it !

    How crazy is this news’ cycle story concerning Angels’ player Torii Hunter’s son ? He’s been accused of sexual assault and battery of a 17 yr old female alongside his fellow teammates (high-school ball players). Alcohol is said to be involved and they’re already targeting the victim by saying the sex was consensual (incident evolves around whether or not she willingly went into a closet with three other males ) .

    So another Rays’ player is now on the DL ? They’re dropping like flies and it’s a cause for concern for Maddon , don’t you think ? Depth or no depth there’s no way that he can think he can overcome this when so many players are going down injured at such a pace . Great duel last night between Hellickson and Bucholz in the Rays’ win . .


    tophatal
    …..

  17. KG laid Philly to waste in Game 3. He is setting up down low and daring any Sixer to get in his way (there are really no takers). He’s turned back the clock during these first few games of the Playoffs vs. ATL and PHL. I always felt during the latter part of his career he’s never picked on anyone his own size…and I know he’s a big-time trash yakker on the court…but I do give the guy props for his fire and passion. I do think he’s periodically dirty…but always nasty.

  18. Okay, Snake.

    Time for you to play nice too. Or are you still asleep in your flannel, Celtics pj’s.

    You should be in a better mood now that the your boys appear to have that Philly series wrapped up.

    Frank, I should warn you, Snake has his own little Celtics shrine, along with the occasional temper of a Tommy Heinsohn.

  19. Al…

    I’m not sure what the Knicks would be willing to pay Jackson to come out of retirement but it’s probably an investment they’ll want to consider. They should at least meet with him, pick his brain and see what direction he’d want to lead this team, i.e., keeping Carmelo or not.

    Is ten mil plus personnel decisions too much of a gamble? That’s up to them to decide.

    And I watched Rhymes go down after getting beaned in the forearm last night. Can’t say I’d ever seen that. Looked like he was in shock to me. Now they’re calling it an adrenaline rush. Wild stuff.

  20. Experience trumps youth most of the time. And just to set the record straight Frank, I’m not from Boston, nor have I ever lived there. I’m a North Jersey guy and in the words of Tony Soprano, we “don’t take shit from nobody.” I’m not really a homer. I even wrote off the Celtics early into this season. I am however a Celtics fan for 56 years. No, I don’t have Celtics PJs but I’d wear them if I could get them. They would go nice with my Celtics logo tattoo. We’ll have to let the chump get us together so that we can kiss and makeup.

  21. KG is one of my all time favorite players. Dude is a flat out warrior. I was crushed when he went to Boston. Not only because I was drooling for him to come to LA, but that he would now be wearing that hideous color for that loathesome franchise in beantown.

    I can’t blame McHale for not wanting him to go to the Lakers. The rivalry runs too deep. Had Kobe and KG been teammates, that would have been too much heart for the NBA to handle.

    It would have meant multiple championships for the Lakers, who would have subsequently passed the C’s in titles and McLerch would have been ostracised in his beloved Boston for handing that kind of talent to the hated Lakeshow.

    So he gifted him to Ainge and Rivers instead.

    Loyalty.

    Once a Celtic, always a Celtic.

    Jerry West did the same with Gasol, but I still can’t help to think what might have been had The Big Ticket ended up in purple & gold.

    Still love KG, just rarely admit it in public…Gotta keep up appearances and all.

    BUCK FOSTON

  22. It’s not an investment long-term in having the Zen Master return . Like I said I seriously doubt he wants to , anyway. There are too many issues concerning the Knicks that’d years to solve . Who’ll want Stoudemire’s contract ? Think about it and look at the figure he’s owed over the remaining three years ? That’s god-damn mess !

  23. The way that Rhymes went down I was really concerned for the kid ! The only other time I’ve seen someone go down like that was during a boxing match a few months ago . The victim had to be taken to the hospital and kept under observation for 72 hours .

  24. Snake…

    I’m glad Ainge decided not to dismantle this team. It’s not like they’re over the hill, obviously, and now they’re six wins away from the NBA Finals. It’ll be good to hear Frank rescind his “underwhelming group” take.

  25. Bleed…

    The Lakers did alright landing Gasol though. Two titles ain’t nothin’ to sneeze at, although it looks like two is all he’s gonna get.

  26. Al…

    There’s gonna be some serious wheeling and dealing this off-season, particularly if the Heat can’t close this thing.

    I think we’ll see some big names in different uniforms come the beginning of the 2012-13 season.

    Get your popcorn ready!

  27. The 1st trade the Heat should make is to get rid of “the whore of Akron.” In the last minute of the game, this guy treats the ball as if it was kryptonite. He’d rather pass than shoot. He doesn’t seem to have any passion for the game. Certainly not like Kobe, KG, Wade or Pierce.

  28. Snake…

    I made the mistake of believing the Heat-hype.

    I mean, after all, how could the Heat NOT reach the Finals?

    Well, we’re slowly finding out how.

    Over at another online basketball forum, I asked if Durant was the best player in the league. General consensus is that LeBron still holds that title.

    I would think that position is getting harder and harder to defend.

  29. Alex…

    I bet you Boston fans are wondering the same exact thing.

    After that Game Three blowout, everyone had written off the Sixers. Guess that was the wrong thing to do. Now they have renewed confidence. Not sure that’s how Doc had drawn it up.

    Let me ask you this, though. If we have an Indianapolis-Philadelphia Eastern Conference Finals, would anyone watch?

  30. Intensity is definitely something K.G. brings game in and game out. Coming out of high school, Garnett proved to NBA owners that while risky, it was well worth it to take a chance on young and very talented ball players. Garnett was a beast in Minnesota and even with age, he is still one of the most productive big men in the league.

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