*Kevin Garnett’s latest altercation with Knicks player Bill Walker, who Garnett shoved by the neck at the end the season opening game (see video below), is more evidence that one of the game’s greatest players might be wrapping up his career on a sour note.
It’s easy to underestimate the astonishing impact that Garnett has had on the modern game of basketball, mostly because he still seems like the same skinny, oversized kid the Timberwolves drafted straight out of high school in 1995 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sQn4A8sCvM). If you look at that video clip (below), it doesn’t look that he’s aged a day – but in fact, he’s a 15-year veteran, a 14-time All-Star, former Defensive Player of the Year, former MVP and former World Champion. In his prime, he was one of the most fearsome players to ever take the court, a fearsome rebounder and lock-down defender with one of the smoothest jumpers a big man has ever possessed.
He was one of the biggest stars in the NBA, but he should have been bigger – being marooned in the NBA’s Siberia known as the Minnesota Timberwolves didn’t help. It took a trade to the Celtics, a partnership with the new “Big Three” and a ring to really show the public just how brilliant KG was.
For all his accolades, though, the Walker incident, combined with the messy Charlie Villanueva “cancer” comment from a year ago (http://sports.espn.go.com/boston/nba/news/story?id=5759196) threatens to paint KG as one of the game’s villains. It would be a shame if that perception lingered as Garnett’s career winds down; one of the league’s superstars deserves much better.
*LeBron James knows he has an image problem. And with the infamous “Decision” still at the top of the public’s minds, he is determined to do something about it, starting ASAP.
James sat down with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols and says he understands all the anger that was directed at him last season, when he went from Cleveland to Miami.
One of the key things he understands now is how he let the hate directed at him change his game. We all know how that turned out. Anyway, he spoke on change in public opinion toward him:
“During my first seven years in the NBA I was always the liked one. To be on the other side, they call it the dark side, or the villain, whatever they call it . . . It was definitely challenging for myself. It was a situation I had never been in before. I took a long time to adjust to it. It didn’t feel good. I was still living in Ohio and you could feel it. You don’t even have to hear it. You can feel it.”
Oh yes, about his crappy playing in the NBA Finals …
“I just know I could have played better. I didn’t have enough game-changing plays where I just shifted the game.”
*Obviously you can’t please everyone and by the likes of a piece written by a hater named Drew Magary, that’s the position that LeBron James is in.
Not that anybody cares, but Magary has declared King James the villain. In a very profane rant, he says James, who will announce his next team in an hour-long broadcast on ESPN tonight, is “a self-aggrandizing sack of sh*t, and ESPN is a bunch of pu**y-whipped enablers for giving him a free hour of airtime.”
Even James’ request to give the commercial airtime to charity isn’t changing Magary’s mind:
“That’s the most transparent use of charity for the sake of self-glorification I’ve seen since I saw some actor do it yesterday.” Magary writes, “LeBron is now the guy you openly root against. If he leaves Cleveland tomorrow night, he’ll have needlessly strung along an entire fanbase and given them the middle finger by making their breakup spectacularly public. If he stays, he’ll have spent two years cockteasing the rest of the world about going somewhere else when he probably never wanted to leave Ohio to begin with. There’s no end result [tonight] that makes LeBron a sympathetic figure.”