By Jimmy Cunningham, howiGit Contributing Writer, Boston, MA
Kevin Garnett. K.G. Da Kid. The Big Ticket.. Top ten power forward of all time, first to be drafted out of high school since Moses Malone, loyal to a fault in Minnesota, finally won a championship in Boston. Rumor has it while working out for scouts in high school K.G. stood right in front of the backboard, bent his knees (took no step) slapped the top corner of the square, as his feet hit the ground he jumped up and did it again. Tall, athletic, fast. Da Kid has been an MVP, a defensive player of the year, 14x all-star, 4x all-NBA first team, 8x all-NBA defensive first team. The only NBA player to have at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists for six seasons in a row, and he did it for nine. He owns Timberwolves’ records for games played, points, rebounds, assists, blocked shots, and steals. That is what is going to be said about Kevin when he is inducted into the Hall of Fame the second his name is on the ballot; and that should be what his legacy is.
Recently Kevin has had a few well publicized actions that I am sure his mother is not too proud of. This behaviour began when Charlie Villanueva claimed that Garnett called him a “cancer patient”; Garnett said he stated that Villanueva is cancerous to his team and the league. Doc Rivers said he heard Garnett call him a cancer, but not a cancer patient. How Doc hears him say one thing and Kevin says he said something else I don’t know. It looks as if he probably called him a cancer patient. This was the first week of the season.
Next, when a ball boy asked Mr. Garnett for an autograph Da Kid told the kid that he had a better chance of getting an autograph from Bin Laden. Word began to spread around the league and apparently this is not the first time that a ball boy has been turned down, with players stating they have heard him curse at ball boys.
A few weeks later Garnett was ejected from a game against the Suns. Channing Frye became upset when The Big Ticket for the second time that game put his foot under him while he was trying to land after a jump shot. This is a very dirty play that is intentionally trying to injure another player. However this is not why Garnett was ejected, turning an ankle was not enough. It ultimately took a swing below the belt as Frye was shooting the jump shot to get KG ejected. Suns’ Coach Alvin Gentry stated that he no longer respects Garnett after these actions.
Most recently Spike Lee said that Garnett, unprovoked, cursed at him many times throughout the course of a game. For those keeping track at home that is two players, a coach, a fan, and a few children who have felt the wrath of K.G. this season.
Do these actions hurt KG’s legacy? I believe that if they continue they may. The funny thing about this behavior is that I do not remember this in Minnesota. Did he change the way he plays and carries himself because the Celtics needed a defensive stopper/agitator? Did he change his style because the Celtics were in serious need of toughness? Is there something in the water in Boston that makes him act like a fugazi tough guy? All I know is that in his last season in Minnesota Garnett received the honor of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award — he has since switched over to trash talk, dirty plays, and blowing off children looking for an autograph. How will Garnett be remembered? Ultimately it falls on Da Kid to show us whether his reputation will be the all-time great that he deserves, or the fake tough guy, cheap-shot artist that he has become.