Possibly the most warming, encouraging story of the maddening 2012 NBA postseason is the return to prominence of Boston Celtics center Kevin Garnett. Not only is the first-ballot Hall of Famer averaging 19.3 points (on 52 percent shooting) with 10.5 rebounds and three combined blocks/steals 17 years after being drafted into the NBA, the whippet-thin 7-footer's shift to the center position has anchored Boston's playoff-leading defensive turn. This team is, again, one win away from the conference finals; and it has Kevin Garnett to thank.
And now, fans of the Philadelphia 76ers have Kevin Garnett to boo. Especially after he called the lot "fair weather" in an interview following Boston's Game 5 win. Via Ben Rohrbach at WEEI, here's the mildly NSFW clip:
Ignoring KG's continued weird use of analogies (you take a cold shower and then jump into a freezer that's at 60 degrees? Sixty degrees is very pleasant. What terrible freezer only goes down to 60 degrees? Where do these come from?), it is worth pointing out that KG … might have a point.
Listen, we make a clear distinction between obsessive fandom, and paid-for attendance. I'm an NBA obsessive, and yet have never bought a ticket to an NBA game for myriad reasons (OK, one reason: $$$) that go way beyond the ability to get a seat on press row to cover a game. In this, or any economy, a team could have a rabid and knowledgeable fan base without filling the stadium every night out, almost exclusively because it is borderline prohibitive to take a family or date or just your damn self (to use a KG-ism) out to an NBA game. Ticket prices are ridiculous, and attendance is often no measure of a team's meaning to its community.
And Philadelphia, though we know they love their Sixers, has ranked in the mid-to-low 20s (out of 30 teams) in terms of attendance for the last half decade, with a massive jump up (to 13th) hitting in 2011-12. Then you toss in the fact that most of the team's games start at 7 in the evening, which doesn't leave the typical working fan the time to turn around and make it to the team's arena by tip-off, and the most ardent of League Pass watchers will tell you that they rarely tune into that midseason Sixers/Nets game to see the lower bowl full by the time Doug Collins calls his first exasperated timeout.
(Or, you could just take this as another example of KG needling his opponents, in a sly dig as he walks away from reporters after a night of dropping 20 points in a crucial playoff game against a team he probably doesn't like. Because he doesn't like any team, but his own.)
Whether he's mindful of those sometimes-empty red seats in Philadelphia, or just attempting to stir the typical KG-stuff up again, you've got to dig it.
And you've also got to show up to boo the crap out of this cat in Wednesday's Game 6, Philadelphia. Though I'd presume you were planning on as much even if Garnett had praised your tact, poise and reason following Game 5.
(Thanks to Ben Rohrbach for the heads-up on this.)
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