July 21, 2011
"This is the real, right here."
To be a sports fan, a rabid one, is to live in perpetual disappointment. Even if you make a point to follow consistent winners, there will still be something that brings you down. And even though we've seen Kevin Garnett(notes) follow MVP-worthy (and winning) seasons with a championship in 2008, and have become rightfully disengaged with our one-time hopes of Stephon Marbury(notes), few things as an NBA fan hurt more than the out-of-nowhere news that had Marbury forcing his way out of Minnesota during the lockout season of 1999.
Maybe it was because the Timberwolves were everyone's second-favorite team, at that point. Maybe it was because my favorite team was limping toward 13 wins that year. Maybe we just wanted to believe. Whatever the reason, less than a year before, those youngsters (with greybeards like Terry Porter and Sam Mitchell in the starting lineup) pushed the respected Seattle SuperSonics to five games in an opening-round series.
What we have here is a video, found by Ben Polk of Wolf Among Wolves, featuring an interview with KG and Steph before their Game 5, one that they would lose as Hersey Hawkins floated to the corner again and again on his way to 24 killer points:
And, of course, the killer is Marbury arguing against (at around the 2:40 mark) the mindset that enervated and then aggravated him enough to force a trade away from Minnesota the year after this clip was filmed.
Apologies for the armchair psychology, but Kevin Garnett was exactly what Stephon Marbury needed, on several levels. And he made sure that, from 1999 onward, KG wasn't a part of his life. "Disappointment" isn't a strong enough word.