Kevin Garnett Is Everything We Hate and Love in an NBA Superstar

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2013

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 17:  Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics does his pregame scream to the crowd before the opening tipoff against the Orlando Magic on January 17, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Garnett missed several weeks due to a knee injury. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Boston Celtics big man Kevin Garnett is a once-in-a-generation type more ways than you could imagine.

On the floor, he's a fiery, driven talent capable of dominating the game at both ends of the floor.

During his 17-plus-year NBA career, Garnett redefined what fans expected out of both post players and superstars.

With an unbridled competitive nature, the former preps-to-pros phenom punished defenders on the block or pulled them away from the basket with a silky smooth mid-range jump shot. From the 1998-99 season through 2006-07, he never averaged fewer than 20.8 points and 10.4 rebounds.

Defensively, he was one of the rare talents capable of harassing his opponents' dribbles or swatting away their shots. He's averaged nearly 1.5 steals and blocks over the course of his career.

He's seamlessly transitioned from the power forward and center spots, outmuscling bigger opponents and outrunning smaller ones along the way.

Of course, any player who's donned the opposite jersey from Garnett may not describe him in such glowing prose.

Garnett's never shied away from the unapproachables during his career.

His low blows were just the precursor for this season's antics from DeMarcus Cousins and Dwyane Wade.

His legendary trash talk knows no bounds.

There are too many instances to cite here, all the better since none of them have been confirmed.

What can be confirmed, though, is that Garnett has a knack for talking his way inside of a player's head.

It's something that Golden State Warriors star David Lee knows all too well.

Some fans (particularly those who have supported Garnett's teams) have been blinded by his freakish talent, unable to diminish his accomplishments the slightest bit for his sometimes cringe-worthy moments.

Others are the complete opposite, unwilling to recognize his greatness because of those same antics.

Most basketball fans, though, fall somewhere in the middle. They appreciate his basketball acumen, without neglecting the times when Garnett has overstepped his bounds.

He's an easy player to hate, particularly when your favorite team is engaged with his club in the throngs of competition.

But he's just as easy to respect; what kind of fan wouldn't want to see that same level of passion from their own team?

What's more is the fact that Garnett's most egregious acts have come within the confines of the NBA hardwood. He's kept himself out of the police blotter and for today's athletes, that's an unfortunate accomplishment in and of itself.

For fans bemoaning the new school NBA for its lack of physicality and aggression, Garnett's the lone throwback player with an insatiable intensity for not just winning, but destroying his competition.

He may not always be the easiest player to watch, but he will truly be missed when he finally leaves the game behind him.