The NBA’s YouTube page is releasing the top 10 plays of a bunch of All-Stars’ careers and Kevin Garnett was one of the first guys they did. I know it’s not totally cool to still love KG because he barks at people and he was mad at Glen Taylor and stuff, but he’s still probably my favorite NBA player of all time. I love watching him even to this day and have a great time seeing the highlights from his career with the Wolves.
Nine of these plays by KG involve the Wolves, one of the plays was in the title clinching game in 2008, and eight of them are in a Wolves uniform. Here are my quick thoughts of remembrance for each play:
10. Game-winning steal against the Wolves: I remember this one hurting because it was a surreal experience seeing KG playing against the Wolves in another uniform. In fact, it’s still a little tough getting used to from time to time. But looking back at this highlight and seeing a lineup at the end of a close game consisting of Sebastian Telfair, Rashad McCants, Marko Jaric, Ryan Gomes, and Al Jefferson just made my eye begin to twitch. I mean… Antoine Walker couldn’t even get some burn at the end of that game? WHAT AM I SAYING?!
9. Game-winning shot against the Pistons: I don’t have many memories of this game, but the contesting of the jumper by Jerry Stackhouse was incredible. Watching a lot of his play with the Nets now and over the past couple years, sometimes you forget the older guys used to be hyper-athletic. It’s like when I remind people that Clarence Weatherspoon and Allan Houston were in the NBA Dunk Contest once.
8. Acrobatic shot to help bury the Lakers in title-clinching game: I was really worried about the Lakers coming back and winning that series in 2008. We saw that very few leads were safe amongst those two teams because they were so good at grabbing momentum. But when KG made that shot over Lamar Odom and got the foul, I felt pretty confident the Celtics were going to close out the game and get Garnett his first title. Needless to say, I lost my excrement when he hit this shot.
7. Backcourt steal and alley-oop against Tim Duncan: He wasn’t the first and he definitely won’t be the last, but Garnett was one of the rare defenders in NBA history that was a threat to make a play for the entire 94 feet. His quick reactions were just astounding to see on a play-by-play basis, especially back when he still had his elite athleticism. The most surprising part of this play isn’t KG’s part so much as it’s Tim Duncan seemingly being unaware of a potential lob from Marbury. He looked lost on defense there, which may be one of five times in his career you could say that.
6. Kevin Garnett murders Shawn Bradley, avoids charges being pressed by the DA: MURKED. Shawn Bradley has been killed more times than Freddie Krueger. And I love the call so much. “I feel you, young fella!” That phrase has repeated in my head so many times when someone gets dunked on. It’s just burned into my brain.
5. KG blocks Drew Gooden’s dunk attempt: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.” – Mike Tyson. I wonder what Drew Gooden’s plan was here and how much thought he put into the physics of trying to dunk over 2004 Kevin Garnett.
4. Insane tip-dunk by KG against the Rockets: I still remember being blown away by this follow dunk. He catches it at his waist and dunks it in one motion! AT HIS WAIST!
3. Game-winner against the Blazers: There weren’t many good days in the 2006-07 season. The team struggled and you could see it killing KG on a nightly basis. Not to mention, Kevin had never been that great in the clutch with shooting the ball and had a stigma of being afraid of the big moment, which turned out to be ludicrous. He hit this shot in late March against the Blazers. Remember the starting lineup for that stretch? It was KG, Mark Blount, Ricky Davis, Trenton Hassell, and Mike James. That was the last season KG spent here and he still fought through it the best he could.
2. Insaner (that could be a word) tip-dunk by KG against the Kings: It’s rare that you are able to get a tip-dunk three feet from the basket, but KG found a way against the Kings. This is probably the most memorable dunk of KG’s career for me (but we’ll go over a few in a second). Mainly because I think I was watching the game with friends in Sacramento and they’re all Kings fans. So I was probably talking a lot of feces when he did that.
1. Young KG with the block and the finish: I guess Eldridge Recasner didn’t read the paper that day. You don’t bring it in young KG’s house and expect to walk away with a lovely parting gift. I didn’t get to watch many Wolves games back in those days (for those of you don’t know, I grew up in Sacramento), so I had to rely on SportsCenter highlights (rarely happened), box scores, columns from national newspapers, Wolves at Kings games, and the occasional satellite feed from some friend’s giant dish in their yard. I remember seeing this highlight on SportsCenter the night it happened and going crazy. The first kid out of high school in forever doing this type of stuff? And he didn’t move like a big man is supposed to move. That was a special, special time of excitement. Haven’t felt that kind of wonderment until Rubio’s rookie season.
I loved this compilation of KG’s career highlights. But there were a few I was hoping would find their way in (although I’m not sure which ones I’d eliminate):
KG dunks on Nene and then catches him
KG cups the ball and dunks on Stromile Swift
KG dunks on the Spurs’ frontcourt
KG dunks on Antoine Carr
KG crossover against Brad Miller
Also, I can’t find highlights specifically of them, but I do remember KG crossing up Walter McCarty, a Stephon Marbury to KG feed that resulted in a dunk on Antonio McDyess or somebody from the Nuggets, and a few others. Any that I missed?