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Winderman: Villanueva violated “keep it on the court” code

Nov 3, 2010, 9:11 PM EDT

Kevin Garnett

For a moment, let’s move past the Big C, because that part of this Kevin Garnett debate is reprehensible, if uttered in any context.

Instead consider something a bit more germane to these sports pages.

And that’s Part B.

Charlie Villanueva violated a prime tenet of the game and well could find himself receiving a shunning of a different type than Kevin Garnett certainly now faces from the public at large.

As a rule, what is said on the court stays on the court, accepted in a heat-of-the-moment context. It is similar to the what-happens-in-the-locker-room-stays-in-the-locker-room tenet that is at the core of the fraternity of pro sports, a covenant more sacred than any Vegas commercial.

Think you’ve heard it all from Gary Payton over the years? You haven’t heard the half of it. Ditto with Garnett. Until now.

That is what made Villanueva’s moment so rare, his tweets so surprising.

This wasn’t an opponent planning to carry out a threat, break a body part, meet someone in the parking lot.

It was Kevin Garnett raging, because that is his fuel, no matter how crude, no matter how inappropriate.

Michael Beasley got his earful during last season’s playoffs.

“He misses a shot, he makes a shot, he misses a rebound, blocks a shot, everything he does, he just talks to himself,” Beasley said, “whether he’s congratulating himself or he’s hollering at himself. He really stays on top of himself.”

During that opening round series, after teammate Dwyane Wade had dunked on Garnett, Beasley tried to turn the conversation. Bad idea.

“I told him what just happened,” Beasley said, “and he was mad. You could really see the fire in his eyes, you could hear him talking to himself.”

Because that’s all it is, mindless babble, in this case truly mindless, no matter which version of the story is to be believed.

Better a million stupid thoughts there than an act that injures.

But now we’ve been provided entrée into the on-court blather.

The curtain has been drawn open.

Now, what happens on the court has entered into the public forum.

Whether it’s a place we want to be or not.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at

  1. ar20342112 - Nov 3, 2010 at 10:30 PM

    If racial slurs were used during a trash talking, would it be a “game code violation” to bring this issue to the public?

  2. efueshe - Nov 4, 2010 at 2:06 AM

    HMM how about he learns to control his temper while playing basketball instead of being extremely classless and disgusting? He says someone has cancer and you guys defend “the code”? What is wrong with people these days…

  3. rbrown4495 - Nov 4, 2010 at 9:09 AM

    I love KG but Kevin has always been over the top with the way he motivates himself by trash talking to himself and his opponents. They should have stopped him years ago when he first started this, this is nothing new for KG. He acts as if he is deranged, like he hasnt taken his meds. I remember him confronting Tim Duncan in the playoffs when he was with Minnesotta with his trash talk and looking at Tim as if he was ready to attack him. Not a pretty site and definitely looks like he has some problems if that is the only way to keep himself focused.

  4. hashfest - Nov 4, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    Screw you, Ira

    What if a white player used the “N” word?

    My guess is that you would be OK with a black player complaining instead of “keeping it on the court.”

    CV was insulted. And KG can slurp the big one, as far as I am concerned.

  5. buckeyeboy - Nov 4, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    dude what a weak article, ur ripping on a guy complaining about someone making fun of people with cancerous diseases

    i dont know how they continue to let you write for this website

  6. hellsfrozenover - Nov 4, 2010 at 1:14 PM

    come on…anybody with courtside seats can hear everything these guys are sayin’. Defending Garnett is reprehensible. Sheesh.

  7. paul1990 - Nov 4, 2010 at 1:25 PM

    I played in high school and college and sick of trash talking. If you have to trash talk someone to motivate yourself, then you’ve got some serious self-esteem issues. Play the game hard and keep the comments to other players out of it. I respect KG’s work ethic, but you don’t need to smack talk. Oh, and by the way, there is no “code” on this. Not sure where that got pulled out of, but if you want to talk smack, you better be prepared for any consequences that come your way…good or bad.

  8. aj334 - Nov 4, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    Why is Ira even in the Business of Sports?? This is the Stupidest comment and article ever. SO this is CV fault? and this coming from a guy that probably never played any sports in his life time. NBC please get this fool off the site! He has no idea what he is talking about. If that was him getting the verbal beat down, I can see him writing it all over the web. Please put the blame with where it belongs On KG.

  9. gstraub - Nov 4, 2010 at 9:52 PM

    Wah Wa Wah, cry me a freakin’ river. Sure, it’s easy to say that what KG said was offensive, but so what? I think a grown man complaining to his Twitter “fans” is a little more worrisome. Some of the best players trash-talk, most don’t. Don’t assume that they are even able to get fired up the same way without it, because they’ll never play as good.

    • nyjets011269 - Nov 4, 2010 at 10:55 PM

      It was offensive and unnecessary. There are lots of other things he could have said. If it wasn’t for his twitter, many people never would have heard about this. There are plenty of other ways to get motivated. Michael Jordan was motivated by his wanting to be the absolute best and never wanting anyone to get the best of him. That should be enough. This trash talk is sophomoric.

  10. nyjets011269 - Nov 4, 2010 at 9:57 PM

    No wonder kids behave the way they do. Writers like Ira Winderman vilify Charlie Villanueva for tweeting about the horrible remarks made to him by Garnett. It’s one thing to talk trash but to start calling people cancer patients just because he has no hair because of another disease he has is despicable! Cancer is a horrible disease and just about everyone including people in the N.B.A. can say that they have been affected in one way or another by this disease. Their is a line in trash talking and Garnett stepped way over it. This has got to be one of the all time worst articles I have ever read.

  11. derek880 - Nov 4, 2010 at 11:02 PM

    This is probably one of the dumbest articles I’ve read in a long time. This whole ‘leave it on the court’ nonsense is similar to the “stop snitching” code that’s used in the inner cities to allow thugs and gangsters to get away with preying on those that are less fortunate. These are grown men. If Garnett needs to act a fool to get himself fired up, then he needs a self-esteem class.

  12. cuedaddy - Nov 5, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    Winderman, you’re COMPLETELY off-base on this. When Facebook, Twitter and all these other social networks started becoming fashionable among athletes (i.e. T.O., Shaq, Ochocinco, LeBron and OTHERS), it became fair game. Backing KG on this makes you look just as “reprehensible” as him. KG owes Charlie Villanueva and the public an apology.

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