Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump..
Good piece this morning on KG from the NY Times’ Harvey Araton. Heading into tonight’s game with the Knicks, Melo & KG have supposedly put their squabble behind them. But we all know that with KG, anything’s possible: (huge pun intended)
Nobody knows what Kevin Garnett will say or do when Carmelo Anthony steps onto the floor in Boston on Thursday night, when theKnicks and the Celtics meet for the first time since Garnett’s on-court posturing turned Anthony into a backstage vigilante early this month in New York. That is the point. Garnett is as unpredictable as he is emotional. He is as calculating as he is quick-witted. If that sounds contradictory, Garnett has always come across as a little stranger than the average professional basketball player, and at least that much sharper.
KG knew exactly what he was doing during his mental mind f*** of Melo during the C’s big win in NYC on 1/7. Anthony was completely off of his game, going 6 for 26 from the field, including no field goals for the final 4+ mins of the contest. I love that part of KG.
It’s clear that Garnett has always been his own man. Even during his younger years, he marched to a different drummer:
When he announced at a Chicago pizza restaurant in May 1995 his intention to join the N.B.A. right out of high school, he was asked if he had consulted with Moses Malone or Shawn Kemp, who had successfully made the leap without playing in college.
No, Garnett said, he had called Bill Willoughby, who had not lasted long as a pro, to determine what pitfalls to avoid.
When he attended the league’s rookie transition program the following September, he, alone, spoke out when an acting troupe staged a hypothetical situation in which a player would have to decide whether to give money to his own brother because he was in debt to drug dealers.
“He’s a junkie,” Garnett, then 19, said. If he handed over the cash, Garnett added, the brother would “still be a junkie.”
As a rookie with the Minnesota Timberwolves, he invited a couple of friends from his childhood home in Mauldin, S.C., to share an apartment with him, provided they got jobs or went to school.
“It was not the typical entourage thing, and Kevin was never your typical N.B.A. star,” said Flip Saunders, who became Minnesota’s coach during that season and remained there with Garnett for almost a decade. “For him, the team was like a family, and if you’re part of it, there’s nothing he won’t do for you.”
KG forms tight bonds with those he loves, and fierce rivalries with those he hates. He can come off at times as somewhat outgoing, even jovial, but it’s clear he cherishes his privacy. Saunders says that an unfortunate incident where KG was actually charged for “lynching” played a huge part in that:
In Saunders’s opinion, Garnett’s unwavering insularity can be attributed to an incident during his junior year of high school. He was arrested in a fight that reflected racial tensions. Garnett insisted that he was not involved and that he was implicated because of his size and celebrity. He relocated from Mauldin to Chicago for his senior season.
“He kind of circled the wagons after that, and that’s how he’s been ever since,” Saunders said.
Within the circle, Terry Porter said, Garnett was one of the guys, no matter how much better a player he was or how much more money he made. In the back of buses and airplanes, the young Garnett would pepper veterans like Porter with questions:
What made Jordan so great beyond his obvious skills? What were Detroit’s title teams of 1989 and 1990 — nicknamed the Bad Boys — like to compete against?
Garnett soon came to believe that the N.B.A.’s greats were separated by attitude, an all-or-nothing mentality that left no room for fraternal niceties outside the core.
In today’s NBA, where we see so many pregame hugs between opposing players, guys wearing other guys signature shoes and the like, I love KG for his old-school values and beliefs. It will be a sad day when he finally retires, so I’m enjoying every minute of it while I can. Check out the rest of Araton’s piece for some other great stories/tidbits from KG’s early days in the league.
The rest of the links: