Inside the NBA debuted ‘Area 21’ with Kevin Garnett and it was so much fun
When Kevin Garnett was bought out by the Minnesota Timberwolves and retired from the NBA (assuming Doc Rivers can’t convince him to have a spring fling), we all wondered what’s next for The Big Ticket. Would he really be the guy at the Malibu YMCA? Would he still try to get into an ownership role? Was somebody going to put him on TV? Can you put KG on television that isn’t allowed FCC leniency?
Whatever the next venture for Garnett was supposed to be would likely prove to be successful. He’s good at a lot of stuff and has a lively personality. Right after the 2016-17 NBA season started, TNT announced that Garnett was getting his own part of the Inside The NBA post-game extravaganza on Thursdays. Whether this means every Thursday or just whenever KG has the time remains to be seen, but they were going to put KG on TV to discuss some basketball stuff.
For the first iteration of this, Garnett and TNT brought out the big guns. They had Rasheed Wallace join him, and it was pretty glorious. The “Area 21” combination of Garnett and Sheed Thursday night seemed to be a big hit. Here was the introduction to Area 21:
They had little short vignettes on the breakup between Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook — based on what that could possibly mean for their head-to-head match-up in Oakland and moving forward.
They also had a vignette for the point guard match-up of the earlier game between Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics — two shoot-first, All-Star point guards who love to have the ball in their hands. Would you rather have Thomas or Irving with the ball in their hands? They love the talent of both. They respect the heart of the littler guy.
Area 21 essentially had these little webisodes of content from two of the most charismatic players ever and they were great.
Where the meat and potatoes of this idea really showed up came after the Warriors demolished the Thunder. KG and Sheed were sitting in chairs, interacting with the Inside the NBA crew, and showing off the “Cuss Button” that is a must-have if Garnett and Sheed are going to be on live television with the existence of those words you can’t really say on TV.
The product was stellar. The conversation was good, the interaction was solid for the first time having this run, and the comedy of the Cuss Button and them playing “Both Teams Played Hard” was exactly what the basketball viewing community was hoping to see.
KG had some good points too. Westbrook’s outfit before the game made you feel like a special performance shot was being called — a la Babe Ruth — but it never quite materialized. I had a couple of scouts/front office folks echo KG’s sentiments about the game maybe being a little too big of a moment for a younger OKC roster outside of Westbrook and them needing to learn from that shortcoming.
Sheed and KG also echoed concerns from the aftermath of Durant signing with the Warriors and how it may affect guys like Klay Thompson within the flow of the offense. Not having enough possessions and shots for someone on that team was a worry for Sheed and that’s proven to be an issue for Klay individually through the first week and a half. But there is plenty of time to figure that out.
Overall, successful and entertaining debut for Area 21 and I can’t wait for the next showing. Please enjoy this Rasheed Wallace .gif from one of these videos: