It is with great sadness, anger, disappointment, frustration, and dismay that I write today’s post. What I am about to say is something that has been said by plenty in the past year, as well by Pau Gasol recently, who, even though he told the truth, should still shut the *bleep* up, because he’s a second-fiddle for the other team. The ugly truth is one of my childhood heroes, The Great Kevin Garnett, is dying a slow basketball death right before our very eyes, and there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it.
Game Two was a culmination of many things we already know. Ever since KG hurt his knee last season, he just hasn’t been the same. He’s always been a fiery dude, and no one can ever question his leadership. It just seems like once his knee left, other attributes left as well. The man seems to get more frustrated than ever. He’s gone from the best player in the arena, to that ornery old man that you hoop with at the gym. You know the one that, despite their age and their diminishing athleticism, is still nice on the court, but he’s just too crunk for his own good. He’s gone Bushido Brown on Dwight Howard, we’ve seen him drag himself up the court more and more, and just seeing this reminds me of another one of my childhood heroes who met his demise before our very eyes about six years ago. With that said, lets flashback to the 2004 Western Conference Semifinals, when the Sacramento Kings took on the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Kings were pretty much on their last legs of being a legit title contender. They still had their core of Divac, Bibby, Bobby Jackson, Doug Christie, and The Great Chris Webber. Webber just hurt his knee the year before, against the Dallas Mavericks, and still was trying to get himself back to form. At the same time, it’s almost as if he realized his knee wouldn’t allow himself to be the explosive player he once was, so he used his fantastic basketball IQ to compensate for his lack of physical ability. Anyway, the Wolves were on the other side, with KG just winning the league MVP. For years, KG and C-Web (along with ‘Sheed) were my favorite power forwards, and seeing them do battle was one of the best match-ups a fan could ask for. The series went seven games, with KG putting up one of the most ridiculous Game Seven performances of all-time, and the Wolves won by three. Afterward, you could tell the Kings did all they could, with Webber’s last-second three rimming in-and-out, and it pretty much signaled the end for the team, as well as the continued decline of Chris Webber as a superstar power forward. He was still a good player, but not great anymore.
That’s the territory Kevin Garnett is occupying. He can still be productive, and since Boston truly doesn’t care how they win the championship, he doesn’t have to be the man anymore. What he can’t do though is go out there and continue to stink it up, as he has in the first two games. It’s like he’s trying so hard to show people he’s still got it, that it actually works against him, and he ends up in foul trouble (as he did in Game Two), or looking foolish (like he did in Game One, when he only had four boards, as well as that God-awful offensive sequence mid-way through the fourth quarter of the same game).
I love ‘Sheed, but there’s a reason he plays in spurts, and God bless Glen Davis, but he’s no KG either. Seeing Garnett like this truly breaks my heart, and anyone who is a fan of the man feels the same way. It’s no longer the worst-kept secret; he’s simply gotta find a way to contribute, make his mark, and help Boston get this ring. For all we know, this is his last shot.
Question: Is Kevin Garnett officially ready for the glue factory, or does he still have enough left in the tank to lift the Celts to another title? Was he overrated? Can you name another athlete who you really wish would hang it up?