This is not an evaluation of the talents of the Boston Celtics forward. This is not a listing of every word, or an examination of every deed that Kevin Garnett has committed that have served to alienate him from Spurs fans. This is not a suggestion of steps to be taken, nor is it a roadmap for how I think this could be made to work. It's none of those things.
What follows is nothing more than my reaction, as a fan, to the recent offseason-free-agent-rumor-mill tidbit dropped by Buck Harvey from the unimpeachable source he describes as "one in the Spurs organization." I'm writing this because I've been asked more often about this potential acquisition in the last 36 hours than I have been asked any single question in such a short time period all season long. Otherwise, I'd just ignore the whole thing.
In the interest of full disclosure, and for anyone who's not familiar with my own feelings on the matter, I will now state, for the record: I do not like Kevin Garnett.
When I say that I do not like him, of course I am not speaking about Kevin Garnett: the person. I do not claim to know anything about that Kevin Garnett. For all I know he could be an absolute prince of a human being. I have my guesses about that, but they have no basis in fact. The truth is that I (and probably everyone who will ever read this) know nothing more about him as a man than what there is to be seen on the basketball court, the things he has said about those actions, and the way he carries himself as a player.
Who I AM talking about in this piece is Kevin Garnett: NBA Persona (KGNP). And what a persona it is.
KGNP represents everything I abhor about the state of sports and popular culture in the United States today. He encapsulates all that annoys me in the 21st century athlete. If I took every issue, gripe, and pet peeve that I have with the way that so many players handle themselves and rolled them all up into a singularity, you would have to name that locus KGNP.
As to the details of what I'm referring, the chest thumping, the braggadocio, the swagger, all of that was covered on this blog well before I ever ran it, and by those who write far better than me. I don't feel the need to go in depth on the subject as it is not my main point, but it is one that I felt that needed to be made before continuing.
Now to the substance. It would greatly wound me to have to cheer for him. I would be conflicted with every San Antonio win, knowing that what was good for the Spurs also benefited KGNP. I would be torn in two with every game as I struggled to resolve my desire for good things to happen for the franchise I've spent so much time following, while trying to simultaneously reconcile my utter dismissal of everything KGNP.
I can't wrap the fannish part of my brain around the possibility of KGNP wearing the Silver and Black in his current incarnation. When I brought myself to imagine that potential reality, the only way I could to do it was to picture him doing more than just turning over a new leaf (or even upending an entire deciduous forest), but actually becoming an entirely different person(a) altogether. The ONLY thing that would make this viable to me, in my persona of JRW: the fan, would be a whole year's worth of KGNP calming the f3 down, deferring to Duncan, and filling the airwaves with "I always knew Tim was good, but I'm amazed at how much better he makes everyone else around him. I'm nowhere near that level and I only hope to someday be. I've learned more in this one season under Duncan than I have my last ten in the NBA. Including, but not limited to, how to conduct myself on the court."
Essentially, I would need an utter validation of everything Tim Duncan to the sublimation of everything KGNP, incorporating a metamorphosis so complete that the only conclusion to be drawn would be that Duncan is the stronger, the classier, and the superior talent in every way.
Needless to say, I do not expect any of the above to happen.