Thousands of players have suited up in for an NBA team. Only 11 have grabbed more rebounds than Kevin Garnett. Last night, on Shaquille O'Neal's 40th birthday, KG passed him on the list and into 12th place All-Time. And afterwards, KG spoke about the joy of rebounding.
"I like nothing about it," Garnett said of rebounding, holding back a laugh. "I like nothing about it. It's something that I have to do. It's something that I'm decent at, and it's something that I know how to do. That's what it is."
I love that quote. Not because it's a typically KG thing to say. But for what it stands for.
Rebounding is dirty work. Very few people LIKE to rebound. You have be kind of cuckoo to get pounded in the trenches down low every freakin' night… with 250 pound guys pushing you and jabbing you and pulling you and doing unspeakable things that refs don't see and replays often miss. That's not fun for a lot of people. Rebounding is hard, tiring work. And so often, the rebounder does all that dirty work just to throw the ball to some skinny guard that runs off and gets the glory of scoring.
But no one scores if no one rebounds. That's a point that's been hammered home pretty mercilessly this year. Still, KG is in there, even though he'll be 36 before this season ends. KG, whom I outweigh despite being 7 inches shorter, is still in there against the biggest of the big, working his ass off to grab a rebound… or swat it away from the other team. Because that's his job, no matter how much he may not like it. Because that's what his team needs him to do. Because at too old and too skinny to be right for the job, he's still the best man for it.
Congrats on moving up the list, KG. Maybe some of these other guys will catch on to what it really takes before it's too late.