While Kevin Garnett has cemented his name in the NBA ranks as perhaps one of the greatest players to ever play the game, his antics over the last 14 years should raise some eyebrows as to exactly who he is and what he's about.
Minnesota and Boston may be among the first two NBA franchises which come to mind when discussing Caucasian fan bases or locations. Ironically they also happen to be the only two teams Garnett has ever played for. For his sake, perhaps a trade to Atlanta is in order.
It's no secret that Caucasian players represent a minority in the NBA, which makes the altercations Garnett has been involved in all the more troubling.
He's certainly had his troubles with players like LaMarcus Aldridge, elbowing him in the head, Tim Duncan, slapping him in the back of the head, and Antonio McDyess, as Mcdyess chased a retreating Garnett around the court as the two were separated by team mates. Who could forget Garnett getting absolutely abused with an elbow to the face by former teammate Anthony Peeler, as Garnett failed to react.
But if you're asking Zaza Pachulia, Jose Calderon, Marco Belinelli, Matt Bonner, Rick Rickert, Andrew Bogut, Wally Szczcerbiak or Rasho Nestervic, you'd probably discover that Garnett takes an issue with white players.
Against the Hawks, Garnett did just that with Zaza Pachulia on two different occasions, first elbowing the Georgian, and in the other altercation, laying him out with an illegal screen in a blowout Celtics victory.
Against the Raptors, Garnett hounded Jose Calderon up and down the court waving his finger in the Spaniard's face, pestering the guard on defense. What business does a guy like Garnett have guarding a point guard like Calderon on the perimeter? The altercation ended with Calderon complaining to the referees and then yelling at Garnett as he walked to the bench.
In a meeting with the Golden State Warriors, Garnett laid Marco Belinelli out with an illegal screen, elbowing the Italian as he fell to the floor. The commentators then stated that it seemed like "Garnett had taken a personal animosity towards Marco Belinelli".
In a meeting between the Raptors and Timberwolves in 2004, Garnett was taken down to the floor in what was simply a hard foul by Matt Bonner. When Garnett saw that Bonner was standing and pointing to the crowd, Garnett charged at him attempting to punch him, and Sprewell followed suit by taking a cheap shot at Bonner.
Garnett had an altercation with Bucks center, Croatian Aussie-born Andrew Bogut, in which Garnett was suspended one game for striking Bogut in the face as the two were battling for a rebound.
However, Garnett saved the best for his own team mates. While in Minnesota, he constantly pestered Nesterovic about not being able to match his intensity, and while the situation never resulted in a physical confrontation, it mirrored Jordan and Cartwright in Chicago far too well.
Also in Minnesota, Garnett took offense to team mate Wally Szczerbiak yelling at him to call out screens by barking back that he needed to play better defense. Garnett followed by punching Szczerbiak in the face.
Nothing has been a greater example of Garnett's racism than his striking Rick Rickert. Rickert scored a few times on Garnett in a scrimmage and his teammates started getting on him about it. The next time Rickert scored, Garnett punched him badly enough that Rickert required six stitches.
While it has been Ron Artest and Rasheed Wallace who've drawn the heat for being the resident headcases in the NBA for the past decade, it's Garnett who's quietly been a menace to opposing teams and even to his own teammates.
It was Celtic legend Larry Bird who once stated that he took issue with seeing white defenders on him because he found it to be insulting. Bill Russell was another player who clearly came out and admitted that he had an issue with white people in general and that it was a fuel for the intensity with which he played the game.
Today Garnett is possibly the most glaring example of this mentality. Ironically, between Garnett, Russell, and Bird, they represent arguably three of the five or six greatest Celtics in NBA history.
One can't help but remark at the irony which this presents, considering that the Celtics-Lakers rivalry was once a way for fans to discreetly pledge their allegiance to one race or the other, and that it was the Celtics which represented the Caucasians with Bird, Walton, Ainge, and Kevin Mchale and the Lakers who represented the other side with Magic Johnson, James Worthy, and Kareem Abdul-Jabar.
Ironic that today, Boston's still largely Caucasian fan base cheers for Garnett and the Celtics unlike any other fan base in the league, despite the contents of this article. I'll say to them what I said to the Asian girl I saw wearing an Abercrombie and Fitch shirt a few months after they were sued for their shirt design which read "two Wongs don't make a White"; knowledge is power, and cheering for racist players or global icons is problematic regardless of if they're for you or against you.