K.G., McHale And The Ties That Bind

HOUSTON — It was a sad, emotional day in America when the natural and national inclination was to reach out for someone to hug.

Before the clock ticked off the final seconds of the Rockets’ win over the Celtics, coaches Kevin McHale and Doc Rivers met for a heartfelt embrace. Then Kevin Garnett walked down the length of the court with his head bowed and clamped a ferocious bear hug on McHale.

It was touching. It was real. It especially resonated on a night when so many of us were still searching for answers, or at least a shoulder to cry on.

McHale, of course, suffered an unspeakable loss of his own, the death of his 23-year-old daughter Sasha on Nov. 24 following complications from Lupus. He had taken a leave of absence from his coaching duties for nearly a month before returning to the Rockets last week.

This meeting with the Celtics, the franchise for which he starred and became a Hall of Famer over a 13-year career, was already going to be emotional enough. The ties that bind the Celtics through all the championships is real, indeed.

Then there was Garnett, the long, talented, explosive All-Star and MVP that McHale drafted as a teen-ager when he was general manager of the Timberwolves. They had worked together and grown together for years in Minnesota until Garnett was eventually traded to McHale’s old team in Boston and helped carry on the championship tradition that now binds them doubly.

Garnett plays the game of basketball and life with the style of an exposed nerve end, uncontainable, rarely concealing his feelings. So when he wrapped his arms around his old boss and friend and offered words of consolation and encouragement, tears came from McHale and, as he eventually walked across the court toward the Rockets’ locker room, they continued to flow.

That it happened on an incomprehensibly tragic day for Newtown, Conn. and all of America made it more poignant as one man who’d lost a child became a surrogate for so many grieving parents and relatives and citizens, a fact not lost on Garnett.

“Today’s been a crazy day,” Garnett said. “I just want to say my condolences go to the families that are in Connecticut. Anybody that has kids — a niece, any kind of siblings, someone that they love — it’s just been a tough day. I just want to get it off my chest, man, and say my condolences go out to the parents out there. I (saw) Kevin out there and had an emotional moment with him. It’s been an emotional roller coaster today.”

A time when a father and a nation needed a hug.


  1. Beverly says:

    Kevin McHale is such a nice guy !!! I am so sorry for your lost and my heart and prayers are with you. It is really
    nice when professionals like this stop for a moment and reflect on the emotional loss of others. Its shows that
    they care about life around them. And I care about them too.

    Kevin McHale, you have people like me in the US who care about your pain and sorrow. Please know that you
    are loved. May our love and care embrace you and your family’s hearts.

    Beverly J. Black Charlotte/Monroe North Carolina.

  2. Bu ll shi t says:

    Mchales daughter died at the 24th of November. That video was at Dec14th game. Thats almost a month. You telling me thats the first time Garnett met with him since? Was he in the funeral or making money playing bball?

    True, real things happen off camera. Not infront. Where everything is hollywood and fake.

    Everyone knows Kevin Garnett is the most fake emotional player of all time.

    Act tough but when the things get tough he backs away.

  3. @ Bu ll shi t- here’s a reeeeeaal simple life lesson. what McHale & KG shared is called LOVE (which is ok for 2 real men to show expressions of to each other)!!!! LOOK IT UP IN THE DICTIONARY-LOVE-IT’S JUST AFTER IGNORANT & JUST BEFORE STUPID, STUPID!!!!! LMAO

  4. HEY @ Bu ll Shi t- are u blind, deaf, dum, stupid, & ignorant all in one everyday & twice on sunday!!! That was a true moment deeply personal for them two-McHale drafted KG strait out high school–there for STFU AHO- like Banner 18 said he cried on KG”s shoulder & no one else’s-it had nothing to do w no one else-if u don’t like KG that’s fine plenty of us do show him mad love-KG’s is as real as they come. @- So Bu ll shi t how would u like it if ur friend lost their daughter & somebody said ur fake for comforting them on tv-i guess u have no conscience, brains, or heart-excuse me everybody else, unjustified ignorance pisses me off-lmao

  5. JimD54 says:

    McHale was always my favorite Celtic back in the 80’s and KG was always my favorite non-Celtic back in the day, all we Celtic fans were touched by that moment, as was the rest of the NBA world. Some things are bigger than Basketball…

  6. terrance lindenberg says:

    This truly was one of those moments in sports that does nor occur too often. The ties that bind are deep and so evident with Garnett and McHale. This was one of those days filed with unbelievable tragedy and one that also showed us the real and unlimited dimensions in human contact. These two remarkable athletes revealed these dimensions for all to see. Simply wonderful.

  7. Benjamin says:

    I remember McHale, Bird and Parish, and i’m telling you, it was the best team that i’ve ever seen. In January the Rockets will visit Boston, and we will recieve you how you deserve!

    You are a legend McHale, the basketball world mourns your loss.

    • Bu ll shi t says:

      How about respect for Jeff Green? Courtney Lee? Looks like another one of those, hey where on Camera. Better do this to increase my PR.

      • Banner 18 says:

        You have no clue what you’re talking about. Those others guys showed their respect too, but his bond with KG is tighter and it was KG’s shoulder he cried on, not there’s.

  8. JayKowle says:

    I love the article and the video.
    Yesterday was so emotional and so real.
    I loved Garnett’s gesture and I could see how much it meant to McHale.
    We should all be so loving and friendly as to tell the people that we love that we love them: NOW.!

  9. jclemen776 says:

    This is so KG. As a Twolves fan for as long as I can remember, Kevin was always the biggest star to me. I grew up about ten minutes from where he lived and one of the guys I played basketball lived right across the street from his house so I had the opportunity to meet him on several occasions and he is one of, if not, the nicest person I have ever met. He always let everything out on the court and his antics were nothing but a way to get himself and his teammates pumped up and to give him a competitive edge. This video was so telling of the way he truly cares for people. Very touching on such a sad day. This is a scene I won’t soon be able to forget.

  10. Alex Granada says:

    great moment in sports…the world mourns with you america.

  11. KobeAtTheBuzzer says:

    As a basketball fan, I hate the Celtics as a team and I hate Kevin Garnett as a player. However, as a man, it is clear that the group of men that wear the Celtics jersey are of the utmost integrity. In particular, Kevin Garnett is a true family man with qualities which every man should have. My thoughts to Coach McHale and his family. Thank God for the extended ‘family’ he has in the NBA to try to help him through this situation.

  12. m says:

    i understand that kg’s chippyness on the court can get annoying. but as a minnesotan i gotta say that he was continually genuine and committed to a team that was really poorly managed. i have a lot of respect for the guy.

  13. Pgulinp1 says:

    My thoughts and wishes to rest in peace for daughter of Mr. McHale and children who were killed last night. and Europe knows and we pray with you for all little angels that we lost .. RIP

  14. PSYCHO says:

    i have a lot of respect for KG and what he did there…

  15. jmndodge says:

    KG – thanks for the real moment. I’ll admit I’ve been a fan, and a critic of your public performance at times. This was a super moment. Kevin McHale hang in there, you never get past the loss, but by God’s grace you make it through.

  16. Winn says:

    Yap,a hug better than words!

  17. Marco Polo says:

    May Sasha rest in peace

  18. Tyrone says:

    NBA: Where Emotion Happens

    Powerful stuff, ladies and gentlemen. Great to see the mutual respect between humans here

  19. Richard says:

    Great men, great players, great compettitors, great Celtics…

  20. Ghigz says:

    celtics must land Kevin Love before deadline.

  21. philipfrommanila says:

    I’m a KG fan since his rookie year. I’ve seen how the kid have grown to be a man. Now a hall of famer, like Coach McHale, KG keeps on showing reasons why a fan like me will love him even more. This is very touching, i don’t know exact words that KG told Coach McHale, but definitely, from KG’s heart to Coach McHale’s heart, and it reaches mine too… more power KG… LET’S GO CELTICS!!!

  22. herher says:

    Stay strong, all Americans!!!
    Always bounce back from adversity, this is what Americans always do right?

    From basketball fan in Malaysia

  23. Juan Medina says:

    McHale i am sorry for your loss i just now was watching the highlights and i realized that you lost something that was a big part of your heart.i am really really sorry for your loss

  24. Unknown says:

    According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”

    • Cam says:

      I’m confused. Do we mourn everyone or no one? It’s a touching moment of humanity in a sport played by millionaires that a lot of people seem to forget are human beings.
      No need to make people feel they can’t feel for coach because of other tragedies in the world. It’s not a peeing contest of “my pain and sadness is more sad and painful than yours”

  25. CCO says:

    For all the douchey chest beating, screaming, hollaring, disrespectful on court antics of KG. This is the best moment ive seen of his. Very touching.

  26. JON.C says:

    This is one touching screen in NBA, this makes NBA so ALIVE. As a NBA fans for many years, all I have seen is just how players score and X’s and O’s in the game. NBA should put more highlights like this, I mean behind the competitive side of the game, NBA should show more touching or humanity side of the game for oversea fans. It brings NBA closer to everyone in the world, it makes NBA so alive, it breaks people traditional thought that NBA is just X’s & O’s.
    Anyway, Coach Kevin McHale, please keep your head up, I will support you oversea.
    Thank you very much.

  27. George says:

    Garnett is a competitor and although I may dislike him for his tactics on the court, I still respect him for his competitive nature. Today I gained much respect for Garnett the human being.

  28. John says:

    I’m so sadden by the events of today. This is happening too frequently. No one in their right mine would carry out this unless they are on drugs. It’s long overdue for our nation to have a war on drug trafficking. When events happen in this nature it does bring us together as a nation. However, lets find another way by loving each other. God Bless all the families that have lost such an innocent love one.

    • Cam says:

      What a ridiculous response. It seems to be the American way. “Let’s have a war on everything except gun control because that will put an end to all the senseless shootings.”
      Gun control, not drugs. Gun control, not religion. Gun control, not the right to bare arms.

      • Frank says:

        I’m all for gun control, but you need to know that the shooting in Connecticut wasn’t a result of a lack there of. He stole the gun from someone he knew, he didn’t go out and purchase the gun himself. In this situation, mental health is the big issue.

  29. NBAallday! says:

    What a beautiful reply.

  30. I’m a die hard Celts faithfull & i’ve always been a big fan of KG. That moment they shared @ end of the game had my eyes welling up. Same thing when news first broke on McHale’s daughter, my heart goes out to the brother. Someone very close to me lives with samething as Sasha. May the Great Creator caress McHale & his family’s spirites. :(…_

  31. Tautvydas says:

    Stay strong coach. It shouldn’t have been like this..

  32. Scaltastic says:

    As a T – Wolves faithfull since the mid 90´s this was just a beautifull moment to watch. I was especially happy to see the fact that they´re still that close even though they failed to bring a championship caliber team in Minny. Life goes on but friendship lasts forever.