The Last Of A Dying Breed: Kevin Garnett

Basketball, Soul On Ice — By on May 14, 2012 at 10:00 am

There’s something about having a favorite player in any sport that makes you tune in even more than you already do. The investment you put in is beyond the comprehension of someone who doesn’t watch sports, and it’s really only appreciated by a fan who is as hardcore as you are about the game. For instance, in the case of Ed, no one can tell him anything about Russell Westbrook (and that’s not even his favorite player; merely one of his favorites). However, Ed feels a personal connection to the way Westbrook approaches the game, plays the game, wears his emotions on his sleeve, and the last thing Ed will do is not go to bat for him. When Westbrook needs to be reined in, simply from the writer standpoint, Ed can do that as well, but it’s always with the best intentions in mind. You never have to doubt the man’s sincerity.

When it comes to Kevin Garnett, that’s how I feel. The man is, literally, my favorite player in all of basketball today, and there really isn’t a close second. As much admiration as I have for the games of current players such as Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James, Zach Randolph, Deron Williams and several others, none of those guys bring the mixture of admiration, appreciation and adulation that KG has brought since he stepped in the league in 1995. Outside of Allen Iverson, there’s not another player who has helped shape the way I view today’s game (well, there’s Michael Jordan, but I don’t count him, because he is God).

With that said, watching KG play the past several seasons has been a challenge. We know fans, as well-meaning as we are, tend to have revisionist history. Some people began to look at KG through a lens that troubled me. It seemed to stem more from what they were reading and being influenced by as opposed to what they, themselves, were actually witnessing. Sure, there were signs of wear and tear and even I mentioned that during the ETSF days, but it wasn’t rooted in some of the sacrilege that people were saying.

To watch Kevin Garnett play basketball is to see someone who is more passionate about playing the game than anyone I’ve ever seen do any kind of job, labor, skill or trade. Seriously, and this is only me talking: There may be other people who are better at what they do, in their respective industries, but there is no one I’ve seen who is more passionate about what they do, in their industry, as Kevin Garnett is when it comes to professional basketball. He’s also one of the most intelligent players the league has ever known. To watch him on offense and, especially on defense, is a sight to see. He knows when to be patient and when to be aggressive. Not too many players have that trait. That’s what basketball IQ is all about.

K. Masenda

Kenny Masenda is a fan of the game, and an admirer of the culture. You can find more of what makes him tick at his Facebook profile located here.

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  • Always loved KG. People love to pile on the guy the past few years and I never understood. KG always has been as fierce a competitor as there is, and all these years later he’s still doing his thing.

  • J. Tinsley says:

    I’ve written on KG here before. Nothing but respect for dude. The third best big man of his era behind Shaq and Tim Duncan and that’s more of a product of the teams they played on, but I digress.

    I can’t have him messing up my goal this year. He’s playing like it’s 2003 all over again somehow. It’s scaring me shitless.

    Dope stuff as always though, Kenny.

  • JAG says:

    I’m an admirer of KG as well. What I respect most is that I did not detect even a nanometer less intensity when he signed the famous 6 year, $126 million contract that caused the NBA to totally flip the ___ out. His contract changed the salary cap rules, changed free agency, changed the rookie contracts, and seemed to change everything and everyone – except KG. The man brought his hardhat and lunchbucket to work as if not a damn thing changed.

  • Joe Simmons says:

    by far the most dynamic power forward of my generation. No one could do what he could do. I consider he and Tim Duncan polar opposites because of the way they do things but imagine how dynamic the Spurs would have been with KG. Never has a PF been as electric on both sides of the ball as KG. Not saying he is better than Duncan but a case can be made.

  • DNKB says:

    Enjoyed the read Kenny…once again you left be pondering how we agree on so much about sports minus football team to root for.

    Enjoyed the articled and it saddens me the lack of passion with NBA players these days. I guess that’s why I like Rondo and Rose so much and why OKC is getting my attention in spite of their shady franchise history (#SaveTheSonics).

  • I’ve always been a KG fan for nothing but intensity that he brought/brings to the game. From his days as ‘Da Kid’ to now, the only difference is the wear and tear on the body. Some jumper, same post moves, same everything, and he still gets it done.

    As Joe said, I often wondered how many ships the Spurs would have won if you would have swapped KG for Duncan. They basically put up the same numbers throughout their careers, just that they did it in different ways and TD has more rings. I always felt bad for KG when he was in Minny, because he only had one year, or maybe two (if you consider Marbury and Googs) where he had the help to get to the Finals. I think I shed a man tear when the KG/Celtics won because at least one of my favorite PFs in the game got a ring (Barkley was the other one).

    KG makes this Celtics team dangerous if he keeps puttin up these 20 and 10 games.

  • drose1 says:

    One of my all-time favorites as well, nothing was better than seeing him and the celtics win in 2008. You see his teachings and basketball i.q. getting passed down to rondo with the ways he improved since being the other guy on that 2008 team. The 2008-2010 Celtics are one of my favorite teams of all-time and I’m far from a Celtics fan. Honestly they would of had a 3-peat if it wasn’t for injuries in ’09 with garnett and ’10 with perkins in the finals.

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