As I’m prepping for a Sunday afternoon jolt between the Pistons and Hawks, I’ve decided to throw some choice words directed at Kevin Garnett. I have been wanting to discuss Garnett’s incessant taunting for a long time, but never had the chance. Now I do. For those who haven’t familiarized themselves with Garnett’s extracurriculars on the court, the lanky power forward is known for pointing his finger at his opponents, barking at others without staring them down and even at times getting on all fours to make his voice heard. (Garnett started barking at Portland rookie Jerryd Bayless on an ESPN game earlier this year)
While Hawks fans may remember Dikembe Mutombo’s finger wags in the late 90’s, the Nigerian seven footer made a point of never waving it directly at his opponent. If he did, he was T’d up quickly. Garnett typically does the same, directing his jawing at the camera or thin air rather than subjecting his opponents to it. But make no mistake, his opponents hear it. In one instance this season, Garnett permanently scarred Randolph Morris in Boston when Garnett “facialed” Morris on a ferocious slam. Garnett proceeded to pound his chest, mouth off without making direct eye contact with Morris, and bark as he ran down the court.
I personally am not a Garnett fan. His game cannot be questioned, and if he were on the Hawks I would probably love him. But the NBA’s treatment of stars is arguably one of its bigger black marks (although not in the same league as the Donaghy betting scandal.) Take for instance the refs treatment of Dwayne Wade. Without venturing too far off topic, Wade is subject to “star treatment” every game with the numerous touch fouls called in his favor. The same thing goes with Garnett. If Artest or Rodman of year’s past performed the same antics, they would be leading the lead in T’s. But therein lies the divide of a business and operating enterprise. Garnett gets the NBA “I Love this Game” ads and he can bark all he wants. Artest is one of the NBA’s black sheep and is under a tighter leash than my neighbor’s golden retriever.
I leave you with this fruitful clip of the man they call KG: