When Ray Allen first checked in as a member of the Miami Heat, he made his way to the Celtics bench to exchange pleasantries with his former team. Kevin Garnett, though, would have none of it. As Ray Allen slapped him on the shoulder, KG just stared straight forward, coldly.
And I couldn't have been happier when Garnett did it. Yes, Ray Allen was an unrestricted free agent and had every right to leave and go to the Miami Heat for less money. But that doesn't mean that the fans or Kevin Garnett have to like the decision.
KG is one of the all-time competitors and as such, understandably did not respect Allen's decision. Remember, Kevin Garnett was a free agent too. He could have left and gone anywhere he wanted. But he decided to stay with the Celtics, hoping to get the band back together for one or two more runs.
Everyone was on board with this, except Ray Allen. And I bet that eats Garnett up, especially because I'm sure that Garnett, like many other competitors, doesn't quite understand why Allen went to Miami.
Garnett wanted to beat Miami...not join them. Allen apparently didn't want to beat them, rather, just join them.
This is a fundamental difference between the two men, and that combined with the fact that they are now wearing different jerseys, has created this rift between the two of them.
Allen has lost Garnett's respect as a competitor and person, and thus, Garnett has every right to ignore him. Plus, in Garnett's mind, if you're wearing the other jersey, you are the enemy.
He is one of the few remaining reminders of what the NBA used to be. In the 80s, NBA players used to hate their opponents. Larry Bird wouldn't dare acknowledge one of his opponents unless he was dishing out some legendary trash talk. That is basically gone from the league nowadays.
KG retains that competitive spirit and it is a joy to see in the NBA today.