Will he finally win a ring?
It had been 20 years since a high schooler considered entering the NBA draft. But that’s what Kevin Garnett did in 1995 when he declared himself eligible.
I remember going to my own fantasy draft auction that season drooling over the prospect of this kid. At 6-foot-11 and with kangaroo-leg springs and arms that could stock the top shelves at grocery stores, Garnett possessed freakish athletic tools.
I opened with a high bid. I waited. Nobody topped me. I was told that he was a high school kid who should go to college. He didn’t belong with men.
“But what about Moses Malone? Or Darryl Dawkins?” I protested.
Those guys had butts the size of minivans when they were teens. They could move you out of the lane with just one bump.
Garnett? He was a skinny young’un with no obvious skills. No outside shot. No patented post move. No intimidating snarl. And certainly nothing that could budge a 7-foot grizzly out of rebounding position.
I told my friends they were insane, that Garnett would become the best player in the game and eventually win a handful of championships.
Unfortunately, I was half right.
Garnett learned after a tough rookie season that he didn’t need to go through post players. Just over them. He also developed a nice jumper. He added a quick first step and fadeaway. He even threw in some baby hooks.
I don’t remember when, but No. 21 once dunked on or “posterized” (as some are fond of saying) an opponent and Minnesota Timberwolves play-by-play man Kevin Harlan responded with this famous line, “Garnett dunks with no regard for human life!”
Garnett grew confidence. He earned respect. He was the perfect teammate and leader. He signed a six-year, $126 million contract in 1997. He appeared blessed.
Well, there was this one thing.
It’s funny how sports stars age so quickly before our eyes. Garnett lost year after year in the playoffs, and people always thought he would be back and eventually win it all. But it never happened.
Meanwhile, Tim Duncan, Garnett’s chief rival, kept winning and did it without much effort. The pair will go down in history as two of the best power forwards of our time. However, Duncan will be held in higher esteem because of his four championship rings.
Now Garnett is traded after serving 12 years in Minnesota. His statistics are already good enough for the hall of fame.
He’s going to the Celtics for seven players, the most for one player in the history of the NBA. When he arrived and saw that the last of Boston’s 16 championships was won in 1986, a reporter said, “21 years ago.”
To that, Garnett responded, “21 is a good number.”
I don’t believe the Celtics are good enough for Garnett to finally win a ring. Just like Charles Barkley going to Phoenix in the early 1990s, this will end with Garnett’s body breaking down and him realizing one day that it was not meant to be.
He’ll join a long list of talented players who never won it — Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, John Stockton, Jason Kidd, Reggie Miller, to name a few from my era.
Danny Ainge, Boston’s executive director of basketball operations, said the team gave up a lot to get Garnett and added, “Too much? Time will tell.”
OUT AT HOME: I had my daughter on the changing table the other morning. I took off her diaper as she said, “pee pee.”
I felt the diaper, and it was dry. So I said, “No pee pee.” Wait a second. She went all night without wetting the diaper? That’s when I saw the devilish smile. She had just given me a signal of what she was about to unleash. And she did. All over the changing table, all over the floor.
So what did I learn? My 21-month-old daughter is probably ready for potty training, which means I need to figure out how to train her. I also learned that when my little girl sends out a warning, I need to heed.
VIDEO OF THE WEEK: At last, football is here! So in honor of the start of training camp, here’s a video that will blow your mind. Of course, it’s of the best quarterback in the National Football League! Be sure to check out the other ones in the related section.