Lately, Kevin Garnett(notes) has been known for churlish behavior as much as he's been credited for his all-out defensive play and overall team leadership. Stuck in the mire of a lockout that might keep K.G. off the court for another year, out comes a story that will have you celebrating the bigger and better parts of his game -- and his role in keeping Marquis Daniels'(notes) spirits up when the Celtics wing suffered a neck injury in a game last February.
Marquis Daniels might not be a household name, and he certainly doesn't have a gruesome video to go along with his debilitating neck injury as Colorado Rockies hurler Juan Nicasio does. When Daniels' Boston Celtics were going down in a heap in the face of the Miami Heat last May, few of us analysts actually pointed to Marquis' absence as one of the reasons why the C's fell to the eventual Eastern Conference champions.
That doesn't mean his team didn't miss Daniels' all-around gifts, though. And despite Kevin Garnett's repeated on-court boorishness, seen over the course of the last few years, it doesn't mean the guy can't be the strongest, sternest and even sturdiest voice in defense of his own teammates.
Especially if they're facing the scariest moment of their lives. CSNNE's Jessica Camerato recently put together a fantastic column detailing Daniels' season-ending neck injury sustained in a nationally televised game against Orlando, and Garnett's role in keeping Marquis' spirits up, even as everything came tumbling down.
His right arm crashed into the parquet first, followed by his face. Daniels lay flat on the court, unable to feel his body but still conscious. He thought about his two young children — "Man, I can't raise my kids like this. This can't be it" — as the crowd of 18,624 at the TD Garden came to a deafening hush, waiting — and hoping — to see any sign of movement.
Daniels heard a voice. In that moment, the most intense player on the court was suddenly the calming assurance he needed.
"I just remember I kept hearing Kevin [Garnett] telling me, 'You're gonna be alright. You're gonna be alright,'" Daniels told CSNNE.com in a telephone interview. "I was like, 'I can't move.' He said, 'What do you mean?' He kept telling me I was gonna be alright. I think that helped me out a lot, just hearing his voice telling me I was going to be alright. I stayed calm, I didn't panic."
There's much, much more in this column, but it's also worth recognizing that it takes a calm mind to rise above the worry and keep things positive even if the initial outlook is downright scary. "Calm" and "Kevin Garnett" rarely appear in a sentence together, for good reason, but K.G. came correct in this instance.
Kindly read the rest of the piece, by the way. It will have you rooting for Daniels' return with as much brio as any player caught in the mess of this NBA lockout.