The Big Ticket- I’m Sold

Haha, I hate puns…. I hate puns…. I hate puns!! So why did I use one in the title- because I just can’t put it any more simply than that. Kevin Garnett (aka. The Big Ticket) has won me over. I’ve always known of KG from a periphery point of view- being that he played in Minnesota his whole career. I knew he was a nasty ballplayer; I just never knew he was this good!
I remember Bird, but only through the eyes of innocence- I was about 10 when Bird was in his prime. I remember Jordan, but through the lens of awe and wonder- I was 15-20 and occupied with many other things when Air Jordan was tearing up the NBA. I- along with millions of others- wish I’d gotten to experience Reggie Lewis and Len Bias; but that apparently wasn’t in the cards. So Kevin Garnett is my first real glimpse into the world of an NBA star. And I say star in the sense that he’s one of the very best in the league, not in the pretense/ prima donna/ celebrity/ my way or the highway/ gimme the damn ball kind of way.
Honestly- KG may operate more in the ilk of Bird than anyone I’ve witnessed on the hardwood. From what I remember, Bird wasn’t the most gifted athlete ever to make it through natural selection. He attained his legendary (Larry Legend) status through hard work, leadership, team work, court smarts, vision, patience, and determination and will. Although Garnett is far more athletically gifted and athletic than Bird ever could have sniffed at, he comes with the same work ethic, skill set, smarts, and leadership abilities that made Bird- in my opinion- the best player to ever play the game.
I remember Bird, and the way he maximized the ability he had. I see the same aspects in KG’s game. He uses each inch of his 6′-11″ frame to its maximum advantage. He stretches for every rebound, constantly has his arms extended on defense, blocks shots far above the rim, hustles for loose balls just out of his grasp, and handles the ball with incredible acumen and agility. There are very few times when he looks out of control- which is difficult when you’re a tall, skinny, lanky guy.
For a big guy (Power Forward) he passes like very few others can, can hit the mid to long range jump shot, bangs down on the block, and even kicks out to the guards on the perimeter.
All of these things display his true commitment to team play and unselfish basketball. I’ve rarely seen all of these qualities packed into a player, never mind a guy who is “supposed” to play as a big guy down under the hoop. He comes to each game with unrivaled passion and energy, and very apparently infects the rest of the team with that same approach.
See, this is the thing:
there’s been many players that have brought these qualities to the fold. Guys have been great passers, great shooters, great defenders, great rebounders, great leaders, great thinkers…. but are usually only one or two of those things at once. Most players do a few things really well, other things satisfactorily, and then other things sub-par. Not the case with Kevin Garnett. He is proficient- if not great- at every facet of the game. He understands the game better it seems, than almost anyone I’ve ever watched.
As I’ve written recently, I’m not a stargazer. The afore written words may tend to suggest that I’m in awe of Kevin Garnett on some superstar level. Not so. I’m just completely sold and impressed with the way he approaches and plays the game of basketball. It’s rare to be “enamored” with an athletes approach, but I’ll admit I am here. Having said that, my admiration is exclusive to his basketball ability, and nothing else. It’s been some time (all of my adult life) since there was any true and legitimate excitement over the Boston Celtics, and I’m taking advantage of what I perceive to be a rarity of a player. For the lack of a better phrase, “I’m stopping to smell the roses.”
It’s fun to be a Celtics fan again! I’ve never been a huge Paul Pierce fan, as I think he’s a bit too selfish in the (me first) kind of way for my liking. Other than Adrian Griffin, there’s been very few C’s that I gravitate to like Garnett. For the record- Ray Allen has many of those same qualities that make KG great, and I don’t want to slight him in any way. If not for KG, Allen (Jesus) may just take the spot designated for my admiration!
Go Celtics!!
AM Son


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