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Thursday, June 20, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Fallen star

I took a ride in my mental time machine over the weekend and lamented a basketball player that I grew up watching.

Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett has been one of my favorite players to see play since I started watching the game and I've followed his career since his rookie season in Minnesota oh so many years ago.

The guy has always been one of those players that wore his heart on his sleeve and gave everything he had to try and help his team win. That mindset and leadership quality always captivated me, until recently.

No one was happier for K.G. than I was when he finally broke through and won his first NBA Championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008. It was one of the sports moments where you really feel like an individual earned his ring.

After that season, however, Garnett's play fell off a bit. He was hampered with some injuries and ended up missing the playoffs in '09. He came back this year and has been hot and cold all season.

It recently occurred to me, after watching a few Celtics games lately, that I don't much care for Garnett anymore. I've grown tired of his antics on the court and his attitude in general when he plays.

Maybe I was blind to it for all these years but I've recently noticed this thug-like demeanor that just seems ridiculous.

In a game against the Cavaliers late in the regular season, the Celtics led Cleveland by 20 points in the second half and LeBron James and company came all the way back to make it a close contest in the final moments before losing. In the closing minutes, Garnett was taunting James repeatedly for seemingly no reason.

I originally just chalked it up to Garnett trying to play mind games with James in case they meet in the playoffs. I mean, any team that let's another team come back after being up 20 points shouldn't be talking trash afterwards, but I still chose to overlook the behavior.

Then it happened. Saturday night I tuned in for the Celtics and Heat opening game of their quarterfinal matchup in the playoffs and by the final buzzer, had lost all respect for Garnett.

Late in the fourth quarter, Celtics forward Paul Pierce was injured on a play near the Heat sidelines. Garnett came over to check on his teammate. Heat guard Quentin Richardson followed shortly after Garnett making his way to his bench when Garnett nudged the Miami 3-point specialist and proceeded to start an altercation with seemingly the entire Miami bench.

This argument could result in a suspension for Garnett.

I just don't understand where this entire gangster-like behavior came from. Garnett used to be an ambassador of the sport, and now I view him in the same light as Ron Artest.

Don't get me wrong, he didn't go fighting in the stands and isn't nearly the pariah that Artest is, but his actions have tainted his reputation.

I just think that athletes should take a step back and examine the image they are giving off to the world.

Maybe I'm being naïve, but I am getting sick and tired of professional athletes acting like street thugs.

In the grand scheme of things, I've come to accept that professional athletes are going to disappoint you.

E-mail: matthew.parrino@ubspectrum.com


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