The Passion and Professionalism of Kevin Garnett

Joe GillCorrespondent IIOctober 28, 2009

In no way am I a huge basketball fan.

I followed the Celtics as a teenager when the original “Big Three” of Bird, McHale, and Parish roamed the Parquet floor of the old Garden.

I remember watching the Celtics-Lakers on Sunday afternoons.

I remember where I was when Bird clanked his three pointer against the Lakers in the ’87 Finals.

I was in Hershey, Pennsylvania on an eighth grade field trip, and I still remember the whole hotel groan in unison when the Celtics lost.

I remember Bird hitting his face and returning against the Pacers in the playoffs.

They were “the team” in Beantown. The Sox, Pats, and Bruins had some glorious moments, but never brought home a championship.

How times have changed in this millennium.

The Sox finally won not once but twice. The Patriots were a dynasty. The Bruins, well the Bruins were the Bruins.

The Celtics were coming off their worst seasons in team history in 2006. They suffered through an 18-game losing streak. They looked like a shell of a team.

Something had to be done to bring the Celtics back to greatness.


Nope. (The fifth pick is like drafting Laurence Maroney when you could have had Barry Sanders!)

Big time trades? Oh yes!

Ray Allen came from the Seattle Supersonics on draft day.

One piece in place, but who would be next?

KG came to Boston in a blockbuster trade on July 31, and Boston had a new “Big Three.”

I knew KG was a great player out of Minnesota and was a high school star that jumped to the NBA as an 18 year old.

That’s about all I knew.

When KG came to Boston, he was like a little kid in a 30-something body. He was a player that never really got close to a championship as a Timberwolf.

He was hungry.

As a follower and not a die hard fan of the Celtics, I instantly was attracted to and had great admiration for KG (I am wearing my Garnett shirt as I write this).

He had fire. He was intense. He had respect for the game and for Celtics history.

He loved and still loves to play.

You have to love the chest pounding and head butts against the hoop support.

He gets me pumped up!

He played every night at full throttle. KG wanted a championship. Be careful what you wish for because sometimes you get what you deserve.

He got just that in 2008 and was the defensive player of the year. He was and still is a beast.

However, in 2009, KG got hurt towards the end of the season. He missed the playoffs and the Celtics were ushered out in the second round against Orlando.

Without their inspirational and defensive leader, the Celtics weren’t the same team. I watched the playoffs, but it wasn’t as much fun without Kevin Garnett (don’t get me wrong, Ray Allen was sick against the Bulls).

“The Big Ticket,” as he is called, is just that. Even the casual basketball fan like myself, has to love this player’s dedication and pure will to win.

In a time of selfish and juvenile athletes (Brandon Marshall…Yep, Big Baby, you too), KG is what a sportsman should be.

Shut your mouth and do your job.  Have respect for the game and understand that playing a professional sport is a privilege not a right (just ask Pac Man Jones).

I am looking forward to watching KG and the newly stocked Celtics dethrone the Lakers.

Kevin Garnett has made me a more of a Celtics fan than I have been since Larry Bird retired.

We all know that role models and heroes should be saved for members of the military, parents, and for others who have an undying passion and respect for something they do or believe in.

One notch below these true heroes are players like Tedy Bruschi and Kevin Garnett.

These men—yes they are human beings like you and me—give their all for their sport and put their own accolades on the back burner for the achievement of a common goal (championship).

KG is the embodiment of perseverance, dedication, and professionalism.

And I am ecstatic. He has come to Boston to share his greatness (as a man and basketball player) with us.


Joe Gill is a featured blogger for Boston Sports Then and Now , and