Saturday, October 6, 2012

What to Make of the Kevin Garnett-Ray Allen Feud

Kevin Garnett made some waves on Boston Celtic media day when he claimed to have deleted former teammate Ray Allen's number from his phone the second Ray signed with Miami. Allen responded on Heat media day with a simple "that's a shame," and the blogosphere has since exploded up with KG-Ray feud talk in the following days. However the reality is that there really is no feud. KG isn't talking to Ray right now because the Celtics are trying to beat the Heat. In a few years when they are both retired they will be friends again and look back at their glory days with the Celtics with fondness. Really it's all something out of nothing, but it is refreshing to see a little nastiness between players, something that the NBA has been missing for a long time.

One of the great things about Kevin Garnett is he's old school. In the present day NBA for some reason it seems like everybody is trying to be best friends. Players from different teams meet for dinner. They high five before, after, and even during games. Overall there is a lot of schmoozing going and a lot of the nasty that made the NBA of the 80s, and even the 90s, so fun to watch has gone out of the league. However it hasn't gone out of Kevin Garnett.

KG is a throwback. As long as he is still playing basketball he's not trying to be anybody's friend. That's a big part of why he has gotten so much negative press the past few years – because he doesn't trying to kiss and hug the other team. He yells and screams and talks trash at them. He is trying to beat them. There is nothing wrong with that. But it is a concept that is so foreign in the NBA today that it has rubbed a lot of players the wrong way. The good news for Celtic fans is KG is never going to change. Him giving Ray the silent treatment is proof of that. Why talk to someone you're trying to beat? It's not that KG doesn't like him, but as long as he's trying to beat him he's not going to try to be friends. That can wait until they're retired.
It's also nice that this ratchets up the intensity on the Celtics-Heat rivalry, a major victory for the NBA. The Celtics and Heat already had a good rivalry before this offseason. Paul Pierce and Lebron James have had some epic battles over the years, and the playoff meeting between their two squads have been high octane. Then the C's brought in Heat killer Jason Terry, and Ray defected to Miami, pouring even more fuel on the flames. Now KG and Ray are apparently no longer on speaking terms? Whether it's true or not it makes for good TV. The first Celtics-Heat game is going to be exciting. Make sure you are tuned in on October 30th.

Dan Benton

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