A Tribute To Kevin Garnett

A Tribute To Kevin Garnett

After 21 seasons in the NBA, "The Big Ticket" leaves as one of the most influential players to ever do it.
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When Kobe Bryant retired from basketball at the end of last season, all I could do was watch as so many of my friends mourned the departure of their childhood idol. I was relieved that I wasn’t the one mourning, but knew that my time would come soon. I just didn’t think it would come this soon.

“Kevin Garnett announces retirement after 21 seasons.” When this notification popped up on my phone two Fridays ago, I was in shock. At first, I thought it was a joke. Several articles later, I finally had to accept that the man who made basketball fun for me was no longer playing.

Garnett’s impact on the game was great. An illustrious prospect out of high school, Garnett opted to skip college and declare for the 1995 NBA Draft. He was selected fifth overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves, making him the first player drafted out of high school in nearly 20 years. In the 21 following seasons, “The Big Ticket” established himself as one of the most dominant forces in all of basketball. He won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award in 2004 while with the Timberwolves, and achieved his lifelong dream of becoming an NBA champion when he won it all with the Boston Celtics in 2008. Garnett completes his career, which also included a short stint with the Brooklyn Nets, among the NBA’s all-time leaders in field goals made, rebounds, steals and blocked shots.

Ask anyone who knew Kevin Garnett the basketball player and they will tell you that there was so much more to him than his accolades. Garnett was a tremendous leader who brought a passion and energy to the game that few had ever seen. This made him the perfect role model for eight year-old me, a lanky kid who was not very skilled and only first starting to get a feel for the game.

What I marveled most about Garnett was that he played every game like it was his last. Even if he wasn’t making shots, he made his presence felt by soaring for every rebound and diving for every loose ball. If not for Garnett and his ferocious style of play, I don’t know that I would have been able to play high school basketball. He convinced me to mold myself into a player who focused on winning and did whatever it took to help his team win, qualities that proved helpful as I played against some of New York City’s best.

Garnett also taught me to enjoy the game and have fun playing. The ultimate trash talker, Garnett relished every opportunity to get in the opposition’s head. At the beginning of games, Garnett would bash his skull against the base of the hoop and yell at himself. During games, he would hype up his teammates and throw jabs at his opponents. All of it was one big mind game, a game within a game you could say. It was Garnett’s way of having fun, and he had a lot of fun over the years. I was not nearly as vocal a player, but Garnett’s enthusiasm still serves as a constant reminder that basketball is just a game and something that should be enjoyed every time it is played.

Now that Garnett has hung up his jersey for good, who is a boy to look to for inspiration? My playing days are long gone, but my love and passion for the game will never die. As someone who aspires to work in basketball long term, I am always looking for players to learn from. Thankfully, Garnett made sure his legacy would continue by rejoining the Timberwolves at the tail end of his career and mentoring then rookie Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns is this generation’s Garnett, and I am excited to watch him grow as a player and a person.

So what’s next for KG? He has expressed interest in both coaching and owning a team, so it looks like he is keeping his options open. No matter what he does, I am sure he will find new ways to leave his mark on the game.

For now, all I can say is thank you. Thank you, Kevin Garnett, for all the memories good and bad. Thank you for staying true to yourself, your teams, and your fans. And thank you for being such an inspiration and showing a kid how to carry himself both on and off the court.

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Due To The Achilles Injury That Kevin Durant Has Sustained, This Will Affect His Free Agency And Game

What is next for one of the greatest players in NBA history?

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Let me start this article off by saying that I am not a Golden State Warriors fan. I am not a Kevin Durant fan, and I have not been since he left the OKC Thunder in 2016. I have an always have been an OKC fan and yes I hated Kevin Durant with such a passion. That is until Monday, June 10th. That is the day when I saw the toll being an NBA player takes on the humans that play the game. Each decision they make is judged so harshly that even if they get injured, the fault has to fall on someone, even if no one is to blame.

Game 5 showed us that Kevin Durant is very much human and clearly understands that. I have no respect for the Raptors fans who started cheering when he fell to the floor clutching his Achilles. As a fan base, I understand the stakes of the game but that doesn't make it ok to cheer when a player might be out for the rest of the series. That is a reflection I know the Raptors or the NBA don't want.

The NBA is a business and the reaction of these fans makes it seem like it's all about the completion and nothing about the game that has changed and affected so many people's lives. It also makes it seem like the fans do not show empathy for anything but the win and that the players must do everything to get the win.

As for Kevin Durant's future, it is up in doubt because an Achilles Tear has been a devastating injury to players in the past. The Achilles is the biggest tendon in the body and tearing such an integral component will clearly rob KD of the some of the length and athleticism he plays with because the surgery and the rehab are so long and difficult to complete. We may never see the person who completely took over the finals and carried his team to victory or score 30-50 a night with an insanely high-efficiency rate. All of that goes up in doubt because of this one horrible and career threatening injury.

As for his free agency, I think that this injury will help KD understand the fan base he has around him and his teammates who need him just as much as he needs them. The Raptors have stolen the finals from KD and the Warriors and this might compel him to stay another season and compete for a 3rd championship instead of going somewhere such as New York.

As for New York, they might as well start preparing for a losing season as they do not have the 1st overall pick to get Zion Williamson and Kyrie Irving has stated that he would much rather play for the Nets than the Knicks. That has to hurt a franchise who was looking to build a big three with the edition of KD and attempt to compete for a championship. All in all, I want to wish KD the best of luck in recovering and becoming a top 3 player in the NBA again.

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