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Irony alert: Player calls Garnett “coward” in anonymous column

Apr 22, 2011, 12:10 PM EDT

Kevin Garnett AP

I love the premise of this article — there is not enough trash talk in the NBA.

It’s part of ESPN’s “Player X” series where some athletes in different sports get to spout off anonymously on whatever topic they want. And this time around an NBA player — clearly a veteran — complains about the lack of good trash talk in the NBA.

He blames AAU, Europeans and the referees for this. But then he gets personal and takes a shot at Boston’s Kevin Garnett calling him a punk and a coward.

Trash-talk can go too far fast, though, so there is a code. Off-limit topics: moms, wives, girlfriends, kids. And health. Honestly, I never thought anyone would cross the line to crack on an opponent about a medical condition. But according to Charlie Villanueva, that’s what Kevin Garnett supposedly did earlier this season when he called the Pistons forward a “cancer patient.” Garnett later claimed otherwise, saying he had called Villanueva — who’s hairless because of a skin condition — a “cancerous” player.

I don’t know who’s telling the truth, but I don’t care. Garnett is a punk and a coward. I know, I know. Easy for me to say behind this column. Don’t worry, I’ll tell him to his face, too. And I’m not the only one who thinks that: If you’re not on his team, chances are you hate the guy. You can learn a lot about him by watching his eyes. If he’s talking to you — and he’s always talking — he avoids eye contact. My advice to other guys in the league: Stare him down, and he’ll retreat. From what I’ve seen, he’ll never mix it up with a player who’s bigger than he is. Personally, I think he’s scared to fight — like a playground bully who barks but doesn’t bite.

Calling KG a coward in an anonymous column is ironic. And a little sad. Even if he does own up to it.

But these kind of thoughts about Garnett — that he is really a playground bully who picks on smaller players or ones who will not push back — have been around a long time. They are almost conventional wisdom around the league. You don’t see KG getting in Dwight Howard’s face, or Ron Artest’s. It’s more like J.J. Barea.

Player X also smacks LeBron James for just being bad at trash talk. He says the Celtics by and large are good at it, and the Lakers have Kobe Bryant and Artest who are very good at it. He tries to draw a line from trash talk to winning.

It’s interesting, if you can you should go read he whole thing. And enjoy the irony.

  1. loungefly74 - Apr 22, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    well Player X is not the first to say something like this about KG…KG is a helluva player but does have that bully mentality. Hey, if it works on the “Kyle Korvers and DJ Mbengas” of the NBA world, more power to him..he is just trying to build a pychological advantage.

    I enjoy those “Player X” columns. You get to hear about things normally not said publically. (though we all knew about this one already though…)

  2. andyhr17 - Apr 22, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    Excellent point made that if Garnett is on your team, you love him. The guy makes teams better and gives it his all. Same thing applies to Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and many others. Some of the best players are also some of the most hated.

    • loungefly74 - Apr 22, 2011 at 1:42 PM

      adding to your comment andyhr17:

      Jose Canseco (during his prime) said, ” I must be doing something right because all the opposing fans/media/teams hate me”. (no need to insert HGH jokes…)

  3. jmessinger - Apr 22, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    Except he does talk trash to Dwight Howard, right? Regular season game this year, he was jawing with Howard, and Howard was doing his smiling/laughing routine during a tight finish. Celtics won. It’s easy to make claims like “he never does it to big guys,” because it’s an anecdotal statement, requires no evidence. What I mean is, it’s lazy.

    KG’s equal opportunity, all the way.

    • andyhr17 - Apr 22, 2011 at 2:37 PM

      Good point. Garnett talks all game long, to everyone. It’s just the confrontations with the little guys is what gets publicized and what makes Sports Center when the little guys fight back.

      • borderline1988 - Apr 22, 2011 at 5:54 PM

        No one is arguing that he talks all game long to everyone.
        It’s just that whenever things boil over, he’s quick to show up to smaller players, but wouldn’t do anything to larger players.

        Also, he loves his idiotic antics that he pulls on opposing offensive players. Like pounding the floor like a monkey at Jose Calderon, or getting right in someones face when guarding him at the perimeter.
        While he has pulled these moves on all types of players, they tend to be less than 6″4 and European. Would he pound the floor at Howard? or at Artest? Artest would probably knock his head off. And we know that Garnett would not want to get involved with a player that his near his strength or stonger than him.

      • jjared1101 - Apr 22, 2011 at 7:47 PM

        One name: Anthony Peeler

  4. pellypell - Apr 22, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    Someone call Whine One One and get Player X a wambulance. It’s all about getting in guys heads, taking them off their games. He does not discriminate when it comes to trash talking. Half the time, he is just cursing himself out.

    In the words of Method Man:
    “I even tell ya mama you ain’t sh@t, m0thertrucker”

  5. davidly - Apr 23, 2011 at 6:35 AM

    Don’t look now basketball fans, but I have it from a confidential source that Player X is none other than one Skibby MaRoo!

  6. trickybastard - Apr 23, 2011 at 10:53 AM

    Kurt you’re being really dumb on this. The player already addressed the format was anonymous and that he will tell him to his face

  7. notacelticsfan - Apr 23, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    “From what I’ve seen, he’ll never mix it up with a player who’s bigger than he is.”

    KG’s 6’13”. How many people are bigger than him?

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