He came to the Celtics almost grudgingly, a fiercely loyal player who had suffered through basketball purgatory in the hinterlands of Minnesota. And now we wait to see what the future holds for Kevin Garnett, and for the franchise that was transformed by its most transformative player since Larry Bird. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m torn – like everyone else, I can see the end for the Big Ticket. But I also know that KG can help this team in the near-term, as Danny Ainge continues to reconfigure the roster while remaining competitive and relevant. And part of me can’t bear the thought of Garnett in a Laker uniform, or a Heat uniform. Blasphemy – because Garnett, while playing the bulk of his career in Minnesota, has carved out a career as one of the greatest Boston Celtics ever.
And not because of his accomplishments on the basketball court, of which there are many. Because Garnett came to this franchise and insisted that everyone be accountable for their actions.
Garnett delivered nothing but his best and he expected no less from the players who suited up alongside him. Work hard and KG will slap you on the ass and bark your name in admiration. Come ill-prepared and he will wash his hands of you and move on. Black and white. Just like that.
And that’s exactly what we needed when Garnett arrived. He brought a cult of personality to the Celtics that couldn’t be ignored. His intensity was borderline criminal, his trash talking the thing that made him one of the most hated players in the NBA. Charlie Villanueva would argue that KG’s mouth is pure gutter, and a window into a classless soul. There are countless others who call him dirty, who detest his actions and his verbal aerobatics.
But put Garnett on their teams and watch how quickly they fall in line and offer up burnt offerings and glowing admiration.
Garnett does that to people. He’s the player other players love to hate, which is a quality that mirrors the Celtics franchise in a lot of respects. So I don’t want to see him go, not to retirement and certainly not to another team. He changed the culture of the Boston Celtics, and I’d love nothing more than to see this aging warrior put it all on the line one more time.