Posted by Matt Moore
Kevin Garnett is a jerk. At least, on the floor he is. He's known as a wonderful, sweet man off the floor. But on the court? Total jerk. Jerkface. Short-Euro-fighting, injured-on-the-bench-barking, junk-tapping, Bin-Laden-joking, ejection-baiting jerk. And he's not at all sorry about it. Don't believe me? Ask CelticsBlog, made up of some of the most dedicated Celtics fans around:
The bottom line conclusion is that he comes across on the court as a really big jerk. Theres just no way around that. But that doesnt mean I will stop rooting for him. It just means that I sometimes have to take him with a large grain of salt. I dont like or always support everything he does, but I admit I give him more leash than I would if he was on any other team.
I find myself thinking about my new son. When he grows up and Lord willing starts to play basketball, KG will long since have retired. But if he was old enough to play now, would I point to KG and tell him to model himself after him? Absolutely not. Rather, I would use him as an example of what it looks like when you allow yourself to be controlled too much by your emotion. The same passion and competitiveness that drive him are what send him over the top. It seems like he almost cant control himself after a certain point. And thats scary.
So what gives? Why is he like this? By all accounts hes a very sweet, funny, caring, and of course loyal guy to those hes close to off the court. His teammates love him and hes very charismatic when he wants to be. His story has been told what hes allowed people to see at least and I seem to remember there being someone that betrayed him early on, so now he doesnt trust other people and stays very private. He also was greatly impacted by losing former teammate Malik Sealy. I get that, but we all have losses in our lives. Weve all been hurt or wronged in the past and Im not judging anyone on how they cope. But just the same, we own our actions and how we react to those hurts and wrongs is on us. Same goes for Kevin.via Kevin Garnett Is a Jerk, But Hes Our Jerk - CelticsBlog.
The author, Jeff Clark, goes on to discuss how he'll continue to support Garnett because he's a fan. And he should! And Garnett will likely continue acting the way he has. And he should! He's gotten away with it. If you can get into your opponent's head, fire yourself up, put more attention on yourself and vent your "intensity" or whatever, why not?
That's the real issue in this situation. Garnett keeps doing what he does because the league almost never reacts to it out of some weird preferential treatment of Garnett. It's not because he's a superstar. It doesn't help Dwight Howard or Amar'e Stoudemire out of the messes they make. And it's not a matter of it being Boston (though their involvement in the Lakers-Celtics matchup probably steered the league away from suspending Garnett for hitting Channing Fry in the junk). Plenty of big-market stars get tabbed with suspensions for their behavior. Instead, the league seems to at once feel bad for Garnett having been wasted in Minnesota for so long, and seek to hold him up as some sort of over-dramatic ideal. As we've talked about before, instead of Garnett abandoning Minnesota, it's seen as him escaping an unfair situation that held him down for too long. Even Minnesota fans continue to support Garnett, not just in this issue, but in his behavior, saying how you have to "get him."
A lot of people feel like the new criticism of Garnett is unfair, that no one had a problem with it when he was in Minnesota, and it's only now that he's on a winning team that people like to throw stones. And maybe that's true. Or maybe it's because the internet wasn't the vast teeming system of displaced criticism it is now, and that having YouTube and message boards and blogs and League Pass Broadband means we see Garnett up close and personal a lot more, and some don't like what they see. He wants to hit himself or smash his head into a stanchion? Go ahead. But undercutting players, tapping them in the junk, and touching officials is stuff that falls far beyond what Dwight Howard and Stephen Jackson are routinely getting assessed fines and technicals for.
Garnett won't apologize. Nor should he. How is he to know he's done anything wrong if the league continues to act as if he's done right? As long as the league continues to allow Garnett to act however he wants without consequences for any subsequent games or even a fine, he should continue to press the limits. That's just getting the edge on your opponent, by any means available.