If you have ever been blessed with courtside seats, than you have experienced the graphic language that is spoken in the heat of the battle. For my next quotations article, where I pull quotes from the Boston Celtics players on a particular topic, I will dive into the art and understanding of trash talk. Let’s face it, who is better than Kevin Garnett to cover this topic?
We start with the Big Ticket himself, Kevin Garnett, as he explains his mental state on the court, where most label him mentally insane when he laces up his shoes and dons that Celtic jersey under the bright lights. His peers voted him the best trash talker in the league.
"I go at this a certain way. I always have, always will," Garnett said Friday in Los Angeles. "I don’t make any excuses about that or apologize for anything that I’ve done. I think I carry myself in a well-fashioned manner. I respect the game first off. I respect the players, and I’m definitely not out there trying to hurt anybody. I don’t want to be hurt … I’m out there playing hard and playing competitive. If it comes off as something else, then that’s your problem.”
“I am aware there was a major miscommunication regarding something I said on the court last night,” he said. “My comment to Charlie Villanueva was in fact, ‘You are cancerous to your team and our league.”
The next person we will listen to is the captain, Paul Pierce, who calmly defuses a situation that another captain (Captain Jack, Stephen Jackson) tried escalating into a bigger problem. I guess playing on the Bobcats gets tough. The Truth talks how he uses trash talk to both inspire his players and put down his opponents. Pierce has also been very vocal on Twitter with his trash talk extending off the court with digs towards the Orlando Magic in 2010 and most notably, the Captain taking his talents to South Beach.
"I don't know how it started," Pierce said. "No, I just thought that Ray was playing good [defense] on him. I didn't think it was a foul on him and I was just saying, 'Good D, Ray.' You know how Stephen is, he is a fiery guy. That is just how he is. He is a competitor. I love to watch him play. It was just both of our competitiveness coming out. It was nothing more than that."
The next tiny nugget comes indirectly from the new Celtic star, Rajon Rondo. Back in the beginning of the season in a game against New Orleans, Rondo got under Chris Paul’s skin, causing security having to restrain the All Star point guard from entering the Celtics locker room. Apparently, Championship rings are a touchy subject, just ask Lebron James.
The procession of trash talk, sources said, pushed into the personal when Rondo was heard to tell Paul, “I’ve got a ring, and you’re never gonna win one.”
The coach, Doc Rivers, is always worth a million bucks with his quotes. He breaks down the trash talking situation very nicely, being a player who played in the old era where it was the norm, and still is.
The thing with Kevin is, Kevin talks the whole game — to himself, to us, to his teammates and to the other team. So I don’t know who he’s talking to, and I don’t think the other team does, as well. Again, it’s funny. My first year with Kevin I realized that’s who he was. We had one game and before the game I said to the guys, “Look. We have to play the game. Respect the game. No talking.” At halftime we were awful and I went in and said, “Kevin, everybody. Go back to who you were. Play basketball.” That’s who a couple of my guys are. Do I wish they didn’t do it? Yeah. But that’s who they are. I’m not going to try and change it."
As always, we finish up with the most professional player in the league, Ray Allen. When Allen speaks, I make sure I am paying 100% because he doesn’t choose to speak often but when he does, you know it is of importance.
“There’s a lot of instances that go on during the game,” Allen said. “I’ve heard a lot of trash talking in my day. I know Kevin and Charlie were going at it. One of the things about Kevin that people don’t know is he wanted to go to UConn. He talks so much trash about UConn now only because I went there. Charlie was the recipient of that trash talk because he went to UConn. I thought it was all in good fun. I don’t think he said anything that was out of bounds.’
“So many people were asking, is trash talking out of bounds? What is off limits? So many people say so many things, so I don’t know if Kev said it to the extent of what [Villanueva said], but at the same time, that’s all within the lines. We’re trying to play basketball. I can only imagine what the guys in the NFL say to each other.”
We should be thankful that we have such a savvy veteran group to follow in Boston. A lot of these guys where mentored by older players who played in the 80’s and early 90’s before David Stern cracked down on ruling the players. Back when players would swing at each other in the public eye. Situations like the Kermit Washington & Rudy Tomjanovich situation (see below), Larry Bird and Dr J. holding each other at the neck, and of course any game involving Bill Laimbeer. The league was different then, players were not making nearly as much as they do today, so those playoff payoffs were worth fighting for.
Writer’s Note: I absolutely hate showing this video because this situation ruined Kermit Washington’s character. After reading his biography and who he was a person, this situation was the furthest from who Kermit was as a person.