Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Here’s an open-ended one: Kevin Garnett is … ? Please explain.
Steve Aschburner: You can fill in that blank with any or all of these, drawn from my experiences raising Garnett from a Timber Pup: An all-timer. A throwback. A salty dude. Overly chippy on occasion. A great example for young players in terms of two-way play, competitiveness, loyalty to your team and feistiness toward opponents. Underrated for about a dozen seasons for his abilities as a passer and to defend five positions when necessary. Tightly wound. Vulgar to the max as a trash talker (remarkably creative, though, at times). A guy I want on my team. Future inductee in Springfield. One of the most fascinating athletes I’ve covered.
Fran Blinebury: Loud, obnoxious, crazy and yet still highly entertaining and potentially dangerous. Even at 36 and for only 30 minutes a night, he’s the reason not to write the Celtics off just yet.
Jeff Caplan: Kevin Garnett is a man-child … OK, so he’s not so much of a child anymore. Kevin Garnett is a man-beast, still at age 36? Kevin Garnett is a Hall-of-Fame trash talker? I’ll go with all those. All I know is the guy is as fierce a competitor as anyone ever in the league. Sure, he’s probably the kind of guy you hate until he’s on your team. Does his legendary trash talking go too far at times, maybe all the time? Yeah, probably. But who cares? Be a man and suck it up (wink, wink, Carmelo).
Scott Howard-Cooper: The representation of the modern-day Celtics. His passion came to characterize the ultra-competitive roster that won championships and had other long playoff runs, a level of emotion that drove a team and also led to a reputation for cheap play. Later, his aging likewise came to epitomize the decline of the Celtics into a team that may not win a playoff series. Kevin Garnett is one of a kind in every head-nodding, head-shaking way.
Sekou Smith: This is a loaded question. In light of Monday night’s drama in New York with Carmelo Anthony, not to mention all of the other dust-ups he’s had throughout his career, it would be easy to cast Garnett as the dude in the black hat. But so much of the smack he talks is about the persona he’s built over the years. Who is Kevin Garnett? I’m not sure we’ll ever know who he really is. What we do know is that, love him or hate him, he is without a doubt one of the the most fearless competitors the NBA has ever seen. With a motor that never stops. He’s no saint. He’s said and done things on the court that are reprehensible (and he’s an equal opportunity offender, ticking off everyone from Tim Duncan and Anthony to role players and rookies during his career). It would be foolish to overlook those things when assessing who Garnett is and ultimately what his legacy will be. That said, if there’s a guy you want on your side with everything on the line …