Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett: bully

I have something to say that will distance myself even further than the other, much more well known Sports Guy. You know, the one whose name rhymes with Phil Timmons.

Are you ready? Here goes…

KG, just stop it.

Right now. Enough. We get it, buddy. You’re SOOOOO intense. You like to slap the floor like Wojo in front of the Cameron Crazies, and taunt smaller players or guys you think/hope will back down from you.

The top three teams in the NBA have one thing in common (besides riding short losing streaks): they’re all trying to form a distinct identity. When the Lakers look in the mirror, they see a deep, offensively skilled team that can’t be stopped during games when they decide to play defense for more than a minute or two in a row (which has become a rarity since this season’s first ten games). The Cavaliers are committed to two things: defense and getting LeBron James his first MVP. The Celtics’ new identity? a less skilled version of the late 1980’s Detroit Pistons, with KG playing the part of an even less honorable Bill Laimbeer.

While somehow earning the mantle as one of the sport’s “good guys” while in Minnesota (except when he was punching Wally szczerbiak), Garnett has become drunk with power this season. Celtics fans like Timmons have referenced KG’s insanity on the court as an example of somebody who gives his all, and his maniacal intensity was a smashing success last year. The Lakers were completely manhandled by Boston, capped by a dispirited Game 6 blowout that sent the Lakers back to Los Angeles questioning their own hearts while praying for Andrew Bynum’s knee. The Celtics are the defending champs not because of any individual player (especially since nobody besides the departed James Posey enjoyed much team success before last year, unless you count Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker making the East Finals during one of the weakest years in Eastern Conference history), but because as a team they were nearly impenetrable.

This year’s bunch is weaker than last year’s without Posey or P.J. Brown, but they are much louder thanks to KG. KG’s targets so far this season? European guards and Portland Trailblazers.

1. Jose Calderon made the mistake of playing yelling something in KG’s direction, which set Garnett off into a torrent of clapping and finger-pointing in Calderon’s face as he took the ball up the floor.

2. Portland rookie Jerryd Bayless made the mistake of taking the ball out of bounds near Garnett, who responded by crawling towards him like a drunk toddler.

3. Marco Belinelli made two mistakes: following his man on defense and being a European member of a team beating the Celtics, and KG responded with a screen that was part shoulder, part elbow and fully illegal, leveling Belinelli (and no, KG didn’t get called for it). It was a carbon copy of his “screen” on Zaza Pachulia during the end of Game 7 of the Celtics/Hawks first round series last spring (retaliation for Pachulia making the mistake of standing up to Garnett in Game 4, head-butting KG after Garnett elbowed him in the chest).

4. LaMarcus Aldridge made the mistake of standing near KG during a change of possession, so Garnett responded with his patented “elbow to the opposing player’s head while lifting both arms in the air, so when the opponent retaliates he looks like his hands have been up the whole time” move.

Garnett purports to idolize Bill Russell, but Russell never pulled any of these bullying tactics. Before Boston, KG was known as the guy whose on-court unselfishness was overshadowed by an unwillingness to take shots at the end of games (akin to Chris Webber). Everyone lauded his humanitarian gesture of staying in Minnesota while they were paying him $24M a year, although with the Timberwolves he was known for sucker-punching easy targets in practice.

Nowadays he’s such a great teammate that he made Glen Davis cry by yelling at Davis in the huddle, although Davis’ nickname is “Big Baby,” so we’ll give KG a pass for that one. We won’t give him a pass for backing away from former teammate Anthony Peeler after Peeler (as a King) stood face to face with KG and tossed a solid left elbow to his jaw. Not to mention the Antonio McDyess incident, when KG turned tail and ran away from McDyess like I would if I found myself in the Octagon against anybody from the UFC.

With the Celtics struggling lately, KG has been frontin’ like Pharrell. He’s so focused, he’s so totally insane, man! Um, no, he’s a player who uses noise and arm-waving as false hustle. The league knows it, and so do the fans. Check out this YouTube montage by Didn’tDrawIron.com, which provides a historical timeline of KG’s general douchebaggery and chumpitude over the years. When it comes to making a visual case that Laimbeer deserves more respect than Mr. Anything is POSSSSSIBLLLLLLLE, this montage is even more effective than Al Davis’ overhead projector v. Lane Kiffin.

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