Saturday , Jan , 03 , 2009 Oly Sandor

Why hating Kevin Garnett and Boston Celtics is good for NBA

Heroes and villains sell. The shine has come off Boston’s renaissance and the four-leaf clover, fair or not, is experiencing a backlash. Take The Big Three’s antics: Paul Pierce talks pure smack, KG’s elbows roam, and Ray Allen comes across as a little too holier than thou (perhaps, Jesus Shuttlesworth was more than a movie role) …


Why hating Kevin Garnett and Boston Celtics is good for NBA

I find ‘The Ritual’ frustrating. This is the tradition of modern players treating the opening tip like a family reunion exchanging half-hugs, pounds, and love.

I, like most fans, want glares and game faces. The jump ball (and often the following 48 minutes) is too friendly for my liking. I want more Gladiator, less Kumbaya.

However, I understand ‘The Ritual’. Like it or not, players have relationships from competing against each other in AAU, high school, college, and the NBA. And like it or not, players have a common business interest through their union.

So I, begrudgingly, accept ‘The Ritual’. I also encourage almost anything that furthers competition and mid-season intensity.

With this in mind, I was interested in Kevin Garnett’s recent comments defending Boston’s trash talk, rough play, and dismissing opponents’ complaints about their tactics.

“We’re not here to be liked. And when we’re out there, a lot of times we’re talking to ourselves. We’re communicating amongst each other and it has nothing to do with the other team, and the other team likes to jump in or say little (expletive). A lot of that we let go. We don’t even comment on a lot of stuff, because half the guys who are talking we don’t even know their names.

“A lot of times we let our play do the talking. Doc (Rivers) doesn’t really encourage us to talk. He encourages us to communicate amongst each other. But a couple of the times we do have conversations with some guys, now it’s coming off like we’re non-classy. But it’s never told what’s being said to us. I mean, class vs. class I can understand. But when you’re dealing with idiots who don’t know what they’re talking about or guys who are just talking out their (tail) or just talking out their mouth, then that’s a whole other level.” (HoopsVibe News linking up to The Boston Herald)

Whatever you think of The Big Ticket’s comments, this is good for the NBA.

Heroes and villains sell. The shine has come off Boston’s renaissance and the four-leaf clover, fair or not, is experiencing a backlash. Take The Big Three: Paul Pierce talks pure smack, KG’s elbows roam, and Ray Allen comes across as a little too holier than thou (perhaps, Jesus Shuttlesworth was more than a movie role).     

Others are, well, confident. Rajon Rondo is far too smug, while Eddie House lead the league in chest pounds and poses. Sam Cassell is, and always has been, animated, except this ‘assistant coach’ has yet to play a game all season. And their entire bench is excitable.

Personally, I love the Celtics’ antics. And I love successful teams who enjoy winning and inspire hate league-wide. The rivalries they create spark interest and bring back casual fans that have soured on the NBA’s relaxed atmosphere.

Rivalries and emotion also produce excellent basketball. Rewind to Los Angeles and Phoenix meeting in the first of the 2006 playoffs. This match-up was all piss-and-vinegar, with Kobe Bryant and Raja Bell doing battle through the media and on-court. A huge number of fans tuned-in and saw a classic seven game series.

For many reasons, disliking Kevin Garnett and Boston is good for the NBA. Their theatrics are a welcome change to years of ‘The Ritual’.

Are Garnett and his Celtics the NBA’s bad boys?  Is this good for the league? Get at us in the comment box below and return to HoopsVibe the Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of juanc. paulino.