This is getting really ugly, really fast.
The Big Lead was the first site that I read to have the story and had the following to say, “Garnett has been an insufferable p—- his entire career. Usually, the 6-foot-11 power forward directs his ire at guards, either delivering cheap shots or getting into scraps with guys who are significantly smaller than he is. Watch here as KG lowers his shoulder into a guard, and then a minute later, talks s—. What the hell is his problem? Who could forget this iconic image from the playoffs in 2009?”
I got into it with him on Twitter about the topic because I (still) believe that this kind of stuff goes on every day in the NBA and, most especially, the NFL. The Big Lead responded by saying that the NFL is a whole different animal, which begs another question. Can we really draw the line between what behavior is acceptable in different professional sports?? Furthermore, are we going to start hearing what players say to each other at the bottom of piles in the NFL, or when Bart Scott is peeping over the line talking trash to the QB under center??
If you think the NFL has been reduced to a pansy league now, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
I still maintain, again, that this is just a part of sports. It’s gone on forever and the only reason we’re finding out about it now is because the media has grown to inexplicable lengths with the birth of Twitter and instant reaction. I read today that Rasheed Wallace once mocked a player for having a stutter during a game. Are we going to get all up in arms over that too?? Michael Jordan’s career may as well be wiped off the books if that’s the case. He was the best trash talker of all-time.
Then I read this take from my favorite NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, “For all the instances of Garnett’s bullying available on YouTube, those two words – “cancer patient” – will never go away. This is the one that people will remember, the stain that’ll be hardest to wash away. Garnett’s 34 years old, and shamefully a man too smart – too principled in a lot of ways – to act like this. Only, he’s done it for years, and it’s now a bigger part of his legacy than an old Boston Celtics champion will want to believe.”
I really, really respect Woj so I took a step back and re-evaluated my position. The biggest criticism, beyond the comment of course, is that KG only goes after players of lesser caliber and size than himself. There’s a reason he does that. He respects the hell out of his fellow elite players and forgive him if he feels the scrubs of the NBA are a waste of his time and energy.
And I still can’t change my mind on the topic.
I’m sure this comment would rank number 47 on the list of the 100 meanest things Kevin Garnett has ever said, and yet, because of Charlie Villanueva, his legacy is now tarnished?? KG’s on the court act is part of what has made him so successful, so feared throughout his career.
I am willing to concede that KG did take it too far, but are you really going to let this affect your perception of his legacy? Is this really going to be a tarnish on his HOF career?
To get the best take on the situation, I give the floor to Nuggets coach George Karl, who survived a battle with cancer earlier this year. He spoke with the Denver Post today about the comment:
“Asked about Garnett, Karl told me: ‘My initial response is – it’s disappointing and crossing the line. I don’t know if cancer is an epidemic in our country, but we accept it as a problem and it’s a very dangerous part of life for everybody. Making fun of it, that’s part of (some people’s) sarcastic side of trash talk. … Sometimes, responsibility comes from knowing when to argue when not to – when to cross the line and when not to cross the line. So philosophically, if Kevin and I were close friends, I’d probably call him up and say, ‘I don’t think that’s right (what you said).’ But I also believe that competition makes us do things when we don’t have our total mental morality in line. We act like children at times, even coaches.’”
It was a dumb comment in the heat of battle. Coach Karl realizes it. We all need to do the same. There is no reason this should affect your long-term perceptions about KG’s career.
Judge his play on the court, which has been, is, and always will be excellent.
[The Big Lead] [ Yahoo! Sports] [Denver Post] [Twitter]