Kevin Garnett: Tweets Break Code, but KG's Mouth Is the Real Cancer

Tom KinslowFeatured ColumnistNovember 4, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 03:  Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics pounds his chest before the start of Game One of the 2010 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on June 3, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Kevin Garnett is a trash talker, plain and simple. Trash talk is part of sports. Sometimes it isn't pretty, but that's just the nature of the game.

Growing up, if you played sports, you were told to respect your opponent and to win and lose with dignity. Inevitably, as with most childhood rules, people stray from that path in time. Winning becomes everything and in the constant struggle to win, people cross lines that shouldn't be crossed.

It's not that there's anything wrong with a little harmless trash talk. Chad Ochocinco has made a living in the NFL by doing playful things to get under a team's skin. However, that talk isn't always as good-natured with other athletes.

Just ask Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva, who took to Twitter after the Pistons' loss to the Boston Celtics two nights ago and accused Kevin Garnett of going below the belt with some in-game trash talk, something Garnett is famous for.

"KG called me a cancer patient, I'm pissed because, u know how many people died from cancer, and he's tossing it like it's a joke," Villanueva tweeted.

This inevitably became a big deal, and rightfully so. This is a country that is all too aware of the risks of developing cancer and is always working to try and find a cure, it's a very sensitive issue and certainly not one to be joked about.

Garnett finally responded to the allegations yesterday afternoon, saying "my comment to Charlie Villanueva was in fact 'You are cancerous to your team and our league.'"


You, Kevin Garnett, the guy who can't help but throw out expletive after expletive before a game and does nothing but run his mouth during the course of a game, talked to Villanueva like he was a character in a Shakespearean play?

We all know his statement is nowhere close to what was actually said. Villanueva responded, saying he knew exactly what Garnett said and right now, no one is going to disagree with him. If Garnett was smart, he would have said he had gotten caught up in the heat of the moment and said something foolish and that he deeply regretted it.

Despite how sensitive of an issue cancer is in this country, he wouldn't have been crucified for it. It's not like he would have been Ron Artest after he went into the stands in Detroit in 2004. Sometimes, you just have to admit you did wrong by someone and be a man about it.

Instead, Garnett insulted our intelligence and that's just compounding the issue.

I'm not stupid. I've seen Kevin Garnett play basketball and when you watch him play, two things are evident. One is that he's a once-in-a-generation talent and the second is that he just refuses to shut up.

Garnett is always running his mouth. He even ran his mouth from the bench when he was out with a knee injury. Villanueva was right about Garnett by insinuating that he's a person who talks a lot of smack but can never, ever back it up.

I don't ever remember Garnett yapping like that when he was on those crappy Minnesota teams and he was wasting his career away. Now that he's running with the big boys he thinks that gives him free reign to act like an idiot and now he finally went too far.

Not that it makes Villanueva any better for ratting him out on Twitter. That's something a high school girl would do after breaking up with her boyfriend. Villanueva's a grown man and he's starting a Twitter beef. It's no wonder the Pistons are 0-5 with him more concerned with Garnett than his own team.

Villanueva should have kept what was said between them and moved on. If he wanted to do something about it, he should have done it to his face like a man, instead of tweeting it. I understand that making fun of Villanueva's medical condition, alopecia universalis, has to be a sore spot for him, but tweeting it isn't the answer.

Trash talk is part of the game and has been for years. Shaquille O'Neal famously called the Sacramento Kings, the "Queens" in front of the media. It happens. But what players don't do is run to the media or Twitter to expose these people when it takes place on the court. Lamar Odom has gotten in to incidents with trash talk and has refused to expose the parties involved.

That's the way it should be.

If you have a problem with Garnett, handle it amongst yourselves like grown men. All this does is re-enforce the stereotype that NBA players are a bunch of whiners and complainers. Villanueva needs to let this situation go, and fast. He's got season to play and he needs to start earning the paychecks that he stole from Detroit last season.

However, that doesn't get Garnett off of the hook. You don't insult people's medical conditions and you certainly don't compare people to cancer patients and the struggles they go through in battling the disease. Pro athletes are supposed to be role models and be above classless, heartless insults like that.

Garnett is a passionate player and it's part of the reason he's so talented, but at the same time, you need to be classy and he's straddled that line or crossed it during his tenure as a Celtic.

These players are supposed to be role models but they're acting like high school girls. Grow up.