In the film Apollo 13 – and presumably in reality as well – Tom Hanks’ character reenactment of Astronaut Jim Lovell stated during a photo session that his upcoming trip to the moon would be his last space flight.
When asked why this was his last he stated “I’m in command of the best ship with the best crew that anyone could ask for, and I’m going to be walking in a place where it’s 400 degrees between sunlight and shadow – I can’t imagine ever topping that.”
Mind you, Kevin Garnett is not headed to the moon, though he is going to the city where NASA is headquartered, but when he mentioned that this was going to be his last All Star game after attending 15 in his storied career, his remarks caused quite a stir.
And it doesn’t matter that he backed off from the statement a few moments later, stating “I’m not going to act like I got more All-Star Games in me, or whatever. So I’m actually going to enjoy this one with some friends and family. That’s what I meant.”…
…because his original statement was being tweeted the world over before he even finished the sentence, so now it’s out there and his to deal with – for good or ill. Such is life in the times of instant access social media.
Keeping that in mind, when Garnett spoke to reporters last evening regarding the upcoming All Star Game in Houston, it could be taken that Garnett was hinting at retirement after this season, even though he just signed a three year, 36 million dollar extension with the team this past offseason
Which doesn’t preclude KG from retiring, but it also doesn’t dissuade him from setting the NBA abuzz regarding his comments, and now the rumor mill just cranked up enough to make Garnett the story going into the All Star break.
He’s been chosen to be a starter in the annual exhibition classic, which speaks to his skill level, even after the pounding his body has taken being in the league for so many years – so why would he even hint at such a thing?
“Y’all don’t know what I know.”
Now, Garnett has certainly been on better Celtic teams and, in all honesty, the odds are against Boston to win a championship – not impossible, just fairly long odds – so could it be that Garnett’s words were spoken to motivate his teammates to accomplish the improbable, or are they ominous words that Danny Ainge and Celtics’ management should take as a message?
Or, is he just having a little fun, because it’s a little difficult to fathom an All Star game without KG in the lineup.
“Y’all don’t know what I know.” Houston, we have ambiguity.
That’s a lot of money to walk away from, and Garnett certainly has a lot of fire left in him – just ask Carmelo Anthony – and while it’s always possible that KG is just having a little fun with the beat writers, the smart money says that his remarks imply frustration and exhaustion, and that he needs help. It could be that he’s not on board with Rivers’ and Ainge’s “Wait and see” attitude towards making a move to bring in a player or two.
Just a guess, but the guy has feigned retirement before, and anyone who’s paying attention can see that he’s right into the battling under the boards. He’s enjoying it, and he’s getting paid for it. It’s doubtful that Garnett needs the money, yet here he is…and he’s not going anywhere.
Teammate and fellow 30-something veteran Jason Terry put it best: “Obviously, this whole ride has been mentally draining for us losing guy after guy.” Terry said of the difficulties the team has had to overcome in the first half of the season, “But just being a veteran player in this league, you need to step away for a second, regather yourself, and then get ready for this magical run. Because it is going to be magical and we all believe that.”
Including Garnett. And he’s in command of the best team with the best crew that anyone could ask for – the best he could ask for without a real point guard and no bulk underneath to help him – and he’s walking in a place where there are 17 Championship banners hanging over his head, and if he wins an NBA Title with this team he really might retire, because there truly would be no topping that….