Sep. 25, 2016
Kevin Garnett is my spirit animal... and Naismith Hall of Fame material
Kevin Garnett is my spirit animal.
Not to sound like Whatculture’s King Ross but Big Ticket is also my bae.
Michael Jordan is my best of all-time, Scottie Pippen is my best sidekick of all-time, Penny Hardaway is my best... if you count only his first five years, Shaquille O’Neal is my most favourite journeyman, and Chris Webber is the player I would like to emulate if I know how to dribble a basketball.
The Bill Russell-led Boston Celtics is my best team ever, the Jordan-led Chicago Bulls is the best team I have ever seen play in real time, and the Sacramento Kings is my favourite to never win a title.
Again, I can’t do my most favourite list without the mention of Kevin Garnett... and Charles Barkley... and Paul Pierce...
I know he’s bound to retire with all the injuries he sustained over the years but the retirement of Kevin Garnett still stings. When I first heard this, I had a sigh of relief. KG has had decreasing averages over the years which was further accentuated with his entry to Brooklyn.
But wow – we’re really going to gear up in an up and coming season sans the likes of KG, Kobe Bryant, and Tim Duncan?
I have a Kevin Garnett rookie card in my possession. Right now, that card isn’t worth much – especially since autographed numbered cards weren’t a thing in the 90s. But up until now it’s the only basketball card I really hold dear the most because it felt as if he’s the player that will succeed the most from his batch. When Minnesota picked Garnett as the fifth overall pick of the 1995 NBA Draft, Minnesota was looking for a star player. Garnett’s entry made the Christian Laettner project unnecessary. With the eventual drafting of Stephon Marbury, the Timberwolves would have a new and improved version of Stockton-to-Malone. While that duo crashed and burned, Garnett would get unexpected results from a ragtag unit composed of veterans Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell.
When he was traded to the Boston Celtics in what was to be a seven-for-one deal, I always thought the former Boston players connived in lieu of the passing of Red Auerbach and Dennis Johnson. Minnesota GM Kevin McHale handed Garnett to Boston and in the process accepted a bunch of tolerable players (although he did gain Al Jefferson in that blockbuster trade). Indiana Pacers top honcho Larry Bird was on the verge of trading Jermaine O’Neal until negotiations fell through (JO would then sign with Boston late in his career). Seattle gave DJ his first break and would then let Ray Allen for a deal similar with that of Minnesota.
This move gave the Celtics their first title in almost two decades.
In his first five seasons, Garnett’s scoring averages increased. He had nine seasons averaging 20 points and more. He is a former MVP, a 9-time All-NBA Team member, a many-time All-Star, and has represented the United States in international basketball. While others talk down on his attitude, his penchant to unleash the fury is his bread and butter. Say what you want about his antics but you know Garnett means business for every on-court push up, choke, shove, and bark.
I guess what I like about Garnett is his character to win. He’s almost the same as Jordan in that aspect. But for His Airness, his career played out like what he wanted it to be. Garnett had his share of success but a ton load of disappointments. One would wonder if Ray Allen didn’t leave for Miami... or if Marbury never packed his bags en route to New Jersey?
2020 is going to be one of the best Hall of Fame classes in history – with the batch of Michael Jordan, David Robinson and John Stockton possibly to rival it. I’m pretty sure Garnett will be a first time ballot entry – because if he isn’t, then we’ll never hear the end of it.
Kevin Garnett is going to be a hero in a lot of people’s minds. I for one think so.