4.01.2008

Garnett is King, Long Live the King


As we bask in the sunshine of a 60-win season, it is time to take stock in what has transpired on the parquet over the last generation of hoops.

Since the fabled 1985-86 Boston Celtics walked off the court champions on that June day 22 years ago, the Green have undergone a series of arse whoopin’s, the kind that we used to routinely administer on opponents.

First, Bill Walton got injured. Then the Lakers acquired Mychal Thompson for a cup of coffee and a bag of chips. Thompson was known as the only player who could effectively guard McHale. After McHale broke his foot and Bird suffered a series of injuries, it was all down hill from there. Along came the Bad Boys, MJ, the Spurs, the Mavs, and finally the Lakers…again [ despair :( ].

You might find it odd that I mention the Mavs, as they’ve never won a title. But how unsettling has it been to watch Dirk Nowitzki have his way every year against the defenseless, hapless Boston Celtics?

Starting with the first Lakers run in 1987, this is what it’s been like being a Boston Celtics fan.

Every season began with at least one team clearly better than our team, one team we had no chance of defeating. One team that would waltz into our building, make us assume the position, and proceed to pummel us unmercifully. As the list of teams able to administer a beating grew longer, so did the list of false Messiahs, whether he was named Xavier, Dominique, or Pitino.

Meanwhile, the Lakers were inching closer to our championship win total. A mere six titles to their name in 1979, by 2004 the Purple had accumulated 14. Phil Jackson had tied Red Auerbach’s records for most NBA titles by a coach. You couldn’t turn on ESPN without seeing Kobe and Shaq, morning, noon, and night.

The Celtics most recent Messiah was a fall-back.

Many Celtics fans were hoping that Larry Bird would return as the team’s owner and executive. Danny Ainge was on the B-list. We were excited about his pedigree, his ties to the last championship team. But most of us set the bar low. We expected him only to be better than Pitino.

The trade for Kevin Garnett flipped the Celtics universe on it’s head.

You need only watch a few games to grasp what is going on.

Garnett in the paint for an easy dunk.

Garnett in the paint for an unblockable finger role.

Garnett in the paint, passing out of triple-teams for dunks and threes.

Garnett in the paint deflecting passes.

Garnett in the paint blocking shots.

Garnett in the paint obstructing drives.

Garnett in the paint barking out signals.

Garnett raining jumpers from 15-20 feet.

Garnett motivating his teammates.

Garnett making opponents feel bad and look worse.

Garnett. Garnett. Garnett.


Garnett starts early, and leaves no doubt about who’s in charge. Almost everything he does on the court oozes one word—EMPHATIC. His psychological impact alone justifies his salary.

The result is familiar to Celtics fans, because they’ve been on the receiving end for the last 22 years. The first year of the Kevin Garnett Era represents for the Celtics everything we came to loath in watching other teams dominate us. Where Celtics players used to close their eyes in resignation, hang their heads in frustration, and slump their shoulders in defeat, we now watch Kevin Garnett impose this result on opposing teams and their players.

KG is so good he makes clear what McHale critics have been saying for 10 years—the Timberwolves failed Kevin Garnett. They failed to put talent, any talent, around him. By the time Ainge made the move for Garnett, it was no longer clear how good he was, which is a long way to fall for a player of his magnitude.

Garnett’s greatness has been clouded and obscured by garbage, and the stench emanating from that garbage.

No longer.

Screw the MVP award.

Kevin Garnett is the king.

Long live the king.

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