Is Kevin Garnett Harming His Legacy?

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.

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19 responses to “Is Kevin Garnett Harming His Legacy?

  1. I agree, there’s no doubt about Garnett’s legacy in terms of what he’s been able to accomplish. He’s no saint, we all know that. That being said, he did not “swing below the belt” on Channing Frye. His momentum carried him towards Frye, and he certainly didn’t try to get his foot out of the way. He also threw a little love tap Frye’s way, but the intent was to irritate him not hurt him. And it looked like it worked pretty well. That’s part of Garnett’s game — he’s an agitator and he’s intense. What he brings to the floor especially on the defensive end is absolutely a key for the Celtics. He plays hard-nosed and yes, sometime dirty, basketball. So did Isiah Thomas, and many other players when the NBA wasn’t so soft. I think the problem here is that Garnett is playing as you’d want someone to play a tough game at a neighborhood court — he’s not fully realizing what’s acceptable when your representing the NBA.

    I also think that he won the award you mentioned in Minnesota for his off court antics — he’s a great guy still of the court. He just becomes this crazy KG animal on the court. What makes me more angry that his on-court antics towards the other team is the ball boy situation. I was involved in a very similar encounter with Nomar Garciapara (asshole!) and have been scared for life ever since. Seriously. It altered the course of my life forever. I’d like to see Garnett keep the intensity on the court, but realize he’s also representing the NBA and should treat people like ball boys with respect. As for his opponents, simply don’t let KG get to you or give it right back to him. That’s how you handle an agitator.

    • j-bone

      KG was not ejected until the refs went back to look at the reply and decided that he took a swing at Frye. He created his own momentum and if you watch the replay up there he cocks his elbow back and then extends again after his momentum started. He was trying to block the wrong ball and its dirty.

      He might not realize what is acceptable as a professional but that is not an excuse for his behavior. He has been in the league since he was 18 and is now 34. He knows what is right and what is wrong. He chooses to act this way because he thinks it benefits the team, and it might. However as his talents diminish he is turning towards this crap and I think its a little sad.

  2. Kevin Youkillis

    i think he has always played like this.. its just more prevalent now cause he is on a good team

    • j-bone

      He made the playoffs 8 times while with the Timberwolves.

      Wouldn’t being on a worse team be more reason to play dirty?

      • I don’t think so. When you’re at the highest level against the other high level teams your more likely to get into intense games where this sort of behavior could be beneficial.

      • j-bone

        I think if you have the talent to actually play basketball you wouldn’t have to result to nut shots and trash talking when you are sitting on the bench.

      • I see your point, but intensity and gamesmanship are part of what I love about sports. A little ball slap is maybe taking it a bit far though.

      • Kevin Youkillis

        i was kind of saying he always played this way.. but since he is on teh celtics who get much greater media coverage it’s just more known now to the public

  3. First and foremost, I have no bias in this conversation. I don’t root for the Celtics, nor will I ever (unless they are playing The Lakers). In my opinion, Garnett has always been the most passionate player in the league. That’s what separates him from everyone else. I’ve said this before, but give me 5 players with the passion and drive of Kevin Garnett and I guarantee my team would beat yours. There is no denying his statistical numbers and accomplishments. Garnett has made some type of All-NBA team 9 times since he entered the league in 1995. KG has won the league MVP (2004) and Defensive Player of the Year (2008) awards. Yet, I am sure if you ask KG he would tell you none of those awards and accomplishment come close to his title of NBA Champion. That’s his legacy; a player who cares about one thing and one thing only, winning.

      • j-bone

        I am not questioning anything Garnett has accomplished, but I think he cares about some other stuff other then winning. What seems to be the only thing talked about here is the nut shot and standing under the jumper, yes you could say that is him caring about winning by trying to injure a player to take him out of the game. Telling Villanueva that he is a cancer patient when he is on the bench and the game is a blow out adds nothing to wanting to win, cursing at children wanting and autograph adds nothing to a win, cursing at fans, who if you listen to Spike did not say anything to provoke any reaction, adds nothings to winning. Yes he cares about winning, but he seems to care about his tough image as well.

      • Kevin Youkillis

        the cancer thing is a he/said she said kind of situation.
        I didnt think he cursed at the kids but he should have signed the autograph or at least politely declined.. so he was wrong there
        and anyone should be able to curse out spike lee whenever they please

      • j-bone

        Yeah it is a he said she said, but the guy is on the bench in his warm up with the game over, keep your mouth shut. He is adding nothing to the game, not helping his team win at that point.

        I dont see why more then one player would say they heard him curse at ball boys, why would they lie about a fellow player?

  4. Kevin Youkillis

    maybe Doc Rivers pointed out that he had Cancer and garnett was just trying to help him out by letting him know what the Dr. said

    i have no idea about the cursing at the kids. not saying its not true, i just hadnt heard that before.

  5. A. Rab Money

    The NBA has become a league full of crybabys, whiners, and drama queens. Years ago when Charles Oakley and Alonzo Morning were trading blows no one cared if they were called a cancer patient, they just took it to that player on the next play or chance they had for a hard foul. Now when someone calls a guy a name they post it on Twitter and people like us sit and debate about it for hours, wasting valuable company time none the least. If this was the NFL or even the NBA circa 1994 none of this would even be discussed in my opinion. They are all grown men who should handle their own business.

    In regards to the cursing and denying autographs, this is just juvinile behavior and I’m sure he has changed those things about himself.

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