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17 February 2005

This NEEDS to be Said

During tonights NBA coverage TNT previewed an interview between John Thompson and Kevin Garnett. In the snippet shown Thompson asks The Big Ticket if he's banged up. Garnett says that he is but it doesn't matter, he has to play. Thompson then follows up with "What's driving you?" Garnett replies "I'm losing, man. I'm losing." And then something alarming happens. Tears start welling up in Garnett's eyes and he motions to the camera to stop filming.

At this point I'm getting emotional-- some sadness but mostly anger. I need to get some things out in the open, things that no sportswriter has the guts to write, and I'm going to be as blunt as possible. Let us begin. *Deep breath.*

1. To Latrell Sprewell: GO FUCK YOURSELF.

First off, everyone knows you choked P.J. Carlesimo, The Man of a Thousand Groupies and currently head assistant coach with the Spurs. I don't care; hell, even Wayne Brady nearly had to choke a bitch once. I'm not holding that against you. But, then again, there's everything else.

"Why would I want to help them win a title? They're not doing anything for me. I'm at risk. I have a lot of risk here. I got my family to feed. Anything could happen."

That's what Spree said when he was lobbying for a contract extension this fall. He's making $15 million this season and the Wolves offered him $27-30 million for three years during which he would be 35-37 years old. He thought the offer insulting and said the above.

Are we, as fans, really supposed to believe this shit? $10 million a year isn't enough to feed your family? It reminds me of when Barry Bonds said he didn't know he was using steroids. Does he think people are that fucking dumb? And yet no sportswriter is willing to go out there and tell him, in an eloquent manner, to go fuck himself. Stop beating around the bush, grab some sack and print the headline "Barry Bonds is a Large-Headed Liar."

And this was after Garnett took a large pay cut to allow the Wolves to sign players around him.

On top of that, Spree is playing like absolute ass this season. 13 PPG on 12 FGA. That's awful. 2.6 REB, 2.2 APG and 1.6 TOPG. He's so bad that the Wolves are actually better when he's off the court. I don't know if his age has caught up to him or if he's just mailing it in. Either way, he should be apologizing every day for sucking while getting paid ~$177 000 a game. But no, Spree's not done.

He and Sam Cassell thought they should have the same amount of input that Garnett has. They also were bothered that Flip Saunders gave Garnett special treatment. Which leads to:

2. To Sam Cassell: GO FUCK YOURSELF, TOO.

Charles Barkley is the one NBA analyst who actually voices his opinion; he doesn't just mindlessly put cliches together. I don't know exactly what he said, but he basically called out Cassell and Sprewell and said they needed to play better. Here's what Cassell had to say:

"Charles was a helluva ballplayer when he played the game. I played against Charles," Cassell said Monday. "But is he an ultimate winner? No. He didn't win. He won some games, but he didn't win."

So, according to Gollum's feeble little mind, if you've won an NBA title you cannot be reproached by players who haven't won an NBA title (Cassell won titles his first two years in the league with the Rockets). Let's get a couple things straight here Sammy:

-You cannot hold Barkley's jock, OK? Do you actually believe that if Barkley was on those Houston squads instead of you that they wouldn't have won those two championships?

-You do realize that your first year there were six other Rockets that scored more points than you? That you only played 22 minutes a game during the playoffs? That some guy named Olajuwon played on your team?

-Let me tell Sammy boy, you certainly picked it up that second year! But, as I am sure you remember, the Rockets added another HOFer that year in Clyde Drexler, so you still finished seventh in scoring (but you beat out Mario Elie!). And you, again, only played 22 minutes per game in the playoffs. Oh, and Olajuwon was still there. I know what you're thinking Smeagol; you're remembering those big shots you hit. And you did hit some big shots for the Rockets. I freely admit that. But Jaren freaking Jackson hit some big shots for the Spurs during their first title run but you don't hear him mouthing off, do you?

To be quite frank, Michael Jordan had more to do with the Rockets winning those titles than you did. So shut your fucking fish-hole and stop playing like ass.

3. To Kevin Garnett: I'm sorry.

This is where I start really getting angry. Garnett is the best player in the NBA, and he has been for about three years now. He does everything: scores, rebounds, shoots a high percentage, blocks shots, racks up the assists, plays good team and individual defense. All while playing huge minutes and missing 3 games in the past 5+ years. And he plays his heart out every single night. I have never seen him take a night off.

And yet idiots similar to Cassell knocked him for not getting past the first round. In 02-03 the Wolves lost to the Lakers in 6 games. Here are Garnett's numbers from that series:

27.0 PPG
51.4% FGP
15.7 RPG
5.2 APG
1.7 SPG
1.7 BPG

And people have the audacity to knock Garnett for not getting past the first round? What the fuck else do they expect him to do? I simply cannot get over the sheer stupidity of people.

In 03-04 Garnett finally gets some decent players around him and gets to the Western Conference Finals. And Cassell and Spree want to take credit for that? Are you fucking kidding me? The only credit they deserve is for being better than freaking Kendall Gill and Anthony Peeler-- those are the guys they replaced. Congratulations guys, last year you weren't bad enough to prevent Garnett from getting past the first round. Now go sail your yachts and spin your rims and feed your families.

And Garnett takes the blame, to the point of crying on national television. He's stuck with two washed-up guys mailing it in, a shooter who cannot defend or rebound and has trouble creating his own shot in Szczerbiak, a back up shoot first PG who's shooting 38%, a 22 year old 6'-10" stick (Griffin) playing center because Olowokandi is a fucking joke and a defense-only whiner in Hassell (who got his 27 million dollar contract because KG lobbied for him). And Fred Hoiberg. Let's not forget Fred.

It's just wrong. Garnett should not be stuck on a team like this, with players like this. He deserves better. He's earned better. He's due at least one year on a team with players that make his job easier. Players as unselfish as he is. Players that bring it every night. Players that understand their role and don't fucking whine about contracts or playing time or who's getting how many shots.

He deserves one year with the Spurs. And I don't say that because the Spurs are my team, or because adding Garnett to the Spurs would make them the best team in the history of the NBA. I just want to see him in that type of basketball environment. It would be so easy for him. He wouldn't have to worry about doing everything. Run the court, play defense, hit the boards, share the post with Duncan.

He could just play. Enjoy the game he loves. Maybe even smile a bit.

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All content copyright Matthew Powell 2005.