KG used to be one of my favorite players when I was young (or perhaps before 2008). The man has unbelievable skills that allows him to play and defend all five spots. He plays with a lot of passion that makes him so fun to watch. He carried the lowly T'wolves almost every year of his tenure in Minnesota until he finally got a chance to play for a contender in Boston and win a much deserved championship back in the 2007-2008 season.
Then things changed in a heartbeat. I am not really sure if having a ring somewhat awakened the inner jerk (or whatever word you wanna put in) in him or that kind of attitude just naturally developed like a number of champions and winners that came before him. Since I seldom heard bad things pertaining to KG on his era with the T'wolves, i would prefer the latter.
Now, Kevin Garnett turned into a player/person we all love to hate. He barks at opponents like a mad man, intimidates SMALLER players (J.J. Barea, Jose Calderon, and the like), and goes way below the belt figuratively and literally then defends himself and calls it passion for the game. Then people refer to him as the emotional leader of the Celtics and yes, the players around him has gotten really good skillswise. But in terms of attitude? Just look at Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Glen Davis, and I can even remember Ray Allen hitting Anderson Varejao in the nuts. And yeah, they refer to it as "passion".
Passion for the game? Yeah right. Kobe displays a surmountable amount of passion perhaps even greater than that of Kevin Garnett. And yet, you'll never see him disrespect players and the game per se. He channels this passion by burrying shots after shots not at opponents but at the rim. And the result? Five rings for him against KG's lone. If every champs display that kind of KG attitude, then Kobe and Derek Fisher would be A-holes to the 5th degree. But then, they chose not to. Because they know very well that NBA basketball is not always about winning games and championships. They are professionals and are expected to act like one. They should respect individuals as much as they respect the game.
But then again, no one can change who Kevin Garnett is and what he does. We will have to endure his acts for several more years. But at least the NBA should do someting about it (not only about KG but to all players who does the same). A few games suspension and leftovers from their fat checks wouldn't do the trick. A more severe punishment perhaps? Ron Artest has toned down since that full year suspension. But I would love to see him beat the hell out of KG. Perhaps Garnett should try messing with the likes of Kenyon Martin. That would be fun to watch. Until then, we will have to digest the sight of KG shouting, cursing, bullying and hitting people in their private parts. That's a great lesson to teach our young lads about passion. That winning in both basketball and life is all about you. Whether it means humiliating competitors and stepping on people's face.