Guys who cracked code in Boston sports: Kevin Garnett

Guys who cracked code in Boston sports: Kevin Garnett

This is the first in a multi-part series…

There has been around the clock conversation the last couple of weeks surrounding the underwhelming Celtics and specifically the increasingly malcontented Kyrie Irving, some of which started right here last week.

Outside of a couple of brilliant performances, including last Tuesday’s win in Golden State and a postgame interview that was surprisingly refreshing, Irving has otherwise recently aligned himself with those who haven’t handled the bright lights of Boston so well. As noted in last week’s column, David Price and John Farrell in his final few seasons quickly came to mind as I listened to Irving bitterly address the public from his seemingly unwanted post.

However, his disposition also got me thinking on a different track. My thoughts quickly transitioned to the guys who have come to town and actually cracked the code. The guys who really got it. The first one I thought of was Kevin Garnett. 

From the moment the trade for KG was announced, Celtics fans were captivated. When Garnett held up that legendary Celtics jersey and addressed his new flock for the first time a love affair ensued. Do you remember who threw out the first pitch at Fenway on August 1, 2007? It was Garnett, just one day after the trade was made official and the crowd went nuts. For every day that followed up to and beyond the day he was traded to Brooklyn at the end of 2013 that love never waned, not even a bit. It wasn’t just his all-world basketball resume, skill or pedigree that endeared him to Boston; KG represented hope, a hope that he fully embraced and made his own. He was and still is cool and every time we got a look at him or had the chance to listen to him was equally cool. Nobody got it and delivered it like “The Big Ticket.”

How aptly named he was.

Grit. Tireless work ethic. Honesty. Candor and a perfect mix of accountability and endless desire are traits that many of Boston’s true sports loves share. Garnett had all of that and he exemplified it, but it didn’t end there. It’s the other traits in the presence of all those hallmarks that made him so endearing during his time here.  

Garnett had a great sense of humor. It could be relentlessly silly while under the spell of Gino on the Jumbotron during one of his team’s many blowouts. It could be bold and at times sound cocky, but in the kind of way the made you laugh not roll your eyes. His humor was always well timed and used strategically to disarm the press after a rare loss. He always knew what the people wanted to hear or needed to hear and rarely if ever failed to deliver.

He was quite the showman too and seemed a bit nuts during his pregame rituals, pounding his head against the stanchion, thumping his chest and swearing like a longshoreman. Nobody could take their eyes off of him, including his opponents.

Equally smart as he was savvy, Garnett always seemed a few steps ahead and he happily showed that as he blew past opponents on the court or after blowing up one or many of their plays.

He was a hard worker and bled with sweat but to my eyes never lost sight of his craft being a game. Watching Celtics games with Garnett in tow was always fun, just as spectator sport should be. If you sat close enough to the court you could frequently see KG engaging with the fans right before an inbound pass or after a timeout. For a guy with his heightened focus he never lost sight of the fact that show-time mattered. Unlike the fakers in LA however, he made it a small and intimate part of his mix not a full time reality side show. This is where most who dare to have fun fail.

The postgame interviews were classic too, often featuring a million dollar suit and a diamond earring the size of a quarter. Garnett always preached consistently win or lose and even though most times you would watch while he stared down at the floor, somehow he pulled it off. It’s probably because we had never seen anything quite like him before. You just found yourself wanting more. I think that’s the magic ingredient that was so unique to KG, like the Celtics themselves he had mystique.

As dominant as he was on the court he was equally as mysterious, drawing you in for more and more and more.

When you hear the phrase “that’s a big ticket item” you know it’s expensive and somebody’s telling you that it’s probably out of your reach. Well, “The Big Ticket” was worth every penny I ever invested to watch him as was the time invested to follow him as well. He was most certainly worth what the Celtics paid him and the proofs in the pudding, because I’m happier about the Celtics now just thinking of him.

Many have cracked the code in Boston, but there will never be another KG.



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Source: GreenStreet Blog

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