I was born on September 25, 1992. Kevin Garnett was drafted by the Timberwolves in June 1995, when I was shy of 3. So today is the first lucid day of my life that Kevin Garnett is not in the NBA. I'm not sure what to think. I don't know if there's an athlete that I feel more connected to. He's sort of the last active link to my childhood.
And my childhood was all Kevin Garnett all the time. I swear I had 100 of his basketball cards. My bedroom at my parents house is still littered with random Garnett shit. I have an autograph on my wall from when I sent him a letter, one of hundreds that some poor intern probably had to stuff in envelopes and mail out. Posters, jerseys, pictures, cards, even a Kevin Garnett rubber duck. I would have worn his jersey every fucking day, and I probably tried. I still don't understand why a Garnett jersey wasn't appropriate for picture day. Our hall closet, to my knowledge is still full of VHS tapes of recordings of games, important and random, airings of his Beyond the Glory, random interviews. I was insanely jealous of my cousin, named Kevin, because he had the same name as Kevin Garnett. Now that I type it all out, my parents were probably pretty alarmed that I seemingly had no other interests.
In reality, I probably could have sent 1000 tweets about Garnett memories today. But instead, I'm going to try and put them here.
I loved him and Stephon Marbury. I hated it when he left.
Me and my cousin were going to be in the NBA on the same team just like them, a dynamic duo of short white kids. Of course, I was going to be the Garnett in our reincarnation.
The first time I heard the word "motherfucker" was out of his mouth at a game.
I loved the powder toss on the media before every game. Couldn't understand why we didn't have powder at Saturday morning basketball.
I loved how when he fucked up, he snapped rubber bands on his wrists. Of course, I imitated.
I loved the pregame chest pounding. I loved the fact that he always blocked shots after the whistle.
I practiced his free throw routine and the left block turnaround fadeaway in our dirt driveway incessantly.
I loved the tee shirts for season ticket holders--the license plate. Land of Defense and Double Doubles.
I loved when he won All Star Game MVP in 2003. I acted like the Wolves won the damn Finals. 37 points!!!! It did kind of irk me that he didn't get a double-double in that game tho.
I didn't care when he beat up Duluth's own Rick Rickert in training camp. Rickert probably did something wrong anyway (Honestly this was the peak of my North Korea-esque unconditional belief in him. No one has ever had a higher approval rating).
I loved when we finally got over the hump against Denver in 6 games in 2004. He stood on the scorer's table relieved and basically insane.
I loved when we were actually on national TV, and the TNT music would come on, Kevin Harlan: "And we go to the land of 10,000 lakes..." [cut in to Kevin Garnett wamring up with exactly two of the buttons on his tearaway pants done]
I loved when he called his teammates over to take the MVP. I loved that he had a bad game that night, and I was defending him to my parents' friends who had seemingly just discovered the Timberwolves earlier that week.
I wanted to murder Anthony Peeler when he punched Garnett in Game 6 and said so. My dad didn't like that much.
I loved Game 7. 46 minutes. 32-21-2-5-4. Him screming "God damnit!!!" Going into the postgame interview.
I hated that that was the top of the mountain for him on the Wolves.
I hated the next two years, and for a time, Kevin McHale, for doing the least with the most in the entire NBA while employing KG.
I loved that he left. I loved that it wasn't the Lakers, thank fucking God.
I loved that he won. I love that he shouted out "'Sota" as he and only he calls it after.
I loved those Celtic teams.
I love that he never changed, he hated Duncan and Sheed the same as he did LeBron and Joakim a decade later.
I loved that he wore Sealy's number in New Jersey.
I loved the return. I love that I spent $60 on the wrong comeback game, a week before he debuted again.
I love that I was in the last row of Target Center for the return. I love how I went to Target Center at 9 am to get student tickets.
He was the fucking man.
EDIT: Forgot some shit.
A girl in my class got to go to the 03 playoffs vs. the Lakers. I asked her who her favorite player was. She said her two favorites were Kevin Garnett and KG. I almost shit.
Loved him and Sam Cassell. I loved how much he loved Malik Sealy.
I loved how he taught Wiggins and Karl. I love how much he loved Flip.
I love all the stories of him being insane. Head butting the wall of his own house watching MTV. Hyperventilating on the court. "LET'S FUCKING GO, MOTHERFUCKERS!"