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Did Kevin Garnett Cross a Line by Calling Charlie Villanueva a 'Cancer Patient'?

John Friel@@JohnFtheheatgodAnalyst INovember 3, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 17:  Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics warms up before Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on June 17, 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 Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Trash-talk is one of the most prominent features of the sporting world. It is used by some players as a tactic to instill fear or hopelessness depending on how it is used. It can also be used to frustrate a player by taking their mind off the game and focusing too hard on the opposition that is doing the talking.

There has never been a problem before in any sport and these athletes are used to hearing every name in the book considering that they have probably used it themselves once or twice on the floor. The NBA is easily the sport where trash talking takes place the most.

Unlike the NFL where teams are separated in huddles for most of the game of the MLB where opposing teammates only exchange verbally when a player is on base, the NBA is the only sport where the game is slow enough to talk, but a sport where you stick to usually one or two men for nearly a half hour per game.

30 minutes of jawing can go so far as a number of events have spilled over at times. In the end though, usually it is nothing personal and is only used as a means of frustration and getting in the heads of your opponent to throw them off their game. A number of players are notorious for this and it includes players such as Kobe Bryant, Rasheed Wallace and Paul Pierce, but none are better at it than perennial All-Star and former NBA champion, Kevin Garnett.

In fact last season, Garnett was voted amongst his peers as the NBA's top trash talker by taking 62 percent of the vote.

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He is one of the most electric, intense players to ever step onto an NBA court as he gives it all in every game he has played since joining the Minnesota Timberwolves way back in 1995. He has made a career out of it as he not only can talk players out of the game, but has his own to game back it up.

He has annoyed, irked, and rubbed people the wrong way over the past 15 years, but he might have let his emotions get the best of him in last night's game against the Detroit Pistons.

After the Celtics dominant 109-86 win at the Palace of Auburn Hills, Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva sent out a Tweet following the game and claimed Garnett had referred to him as a 'cancer patient'. Villanueva also went to say that he was willing to fight Garnett and that he had a special place for cancer patients.

For those who don't know, Villanueva suffers from Alopecia Areata. It's a disorder that causes hair loss and Charlie has embraced the fact that is a victim of the disease and has visited children that have also suffer from it. If the allegations about Garnett are in fact true, he has lost a lot of respect from peers that have looked up to him as a role model.

Calling an opposing player a 'cancer patient' is the kind of talk that could tarnish any players legacy, even a player like Kevin Garnett who has made a career out of trash talking. There are only so many words that could be thrown around on the court and a debilitating disease such as cancer is not one. Garnett has been criticized as of late for his talking as well as many critics claim that due to his age and injuries becoming more and more prevalent, his bullying has increased as a means of replacing his deteriorating game.

Garnett is an intense player and is said to be a completely different player off the court, but the bullying that has become more prominent over the past few years has become a recurring problem for many players who are usually not of the same stature as Kevin. The most well-known being the Toronto Raptors Jose Calderon who fell victim to a tirade of Garnett's when he played full-court defense on the 6'3" guard by clapping in his face the entire way down.

It would be a truly sad day if Kevin became known more for his mouth more than his game. Kevin is a former MVP, NBA champion, 13 time All-Star, and all-around amazing teammate. His leadership was key in the Boston Celtics championship run of 2008 and even when he was injured during the 2009 post season, he still provided the emotion and tenacity to a team that made quite a run despite being shorthanded.

We must remember however that Garnett calling Villanueva a cancer patient was only an allegation by Charlie. Kevin came out nearly a day after the game and stated that in no way are the allegations true and that he was only misinterpreted.

Just earlier today, Garnett issued a statement that stated, "My comment to (Villanueva) was in fact 'You are cancerous to your team and our league."

Obviously one of the two are either lying, have terrible memory, or are extremely hard of hearing. Garnett also stated that, "I would never be insensitive to the brave struggle that cancer patients endure. I have lost loved ones to the deadly disease and have a family member currently undergoing treatment. I would never say anything that distasteful."

Miscommunication? That's for you to decide. For if the allegations are true, Kevin crossed a line that even the worst trash-talkers could resent.

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