May 17, 2012, 3:03 PM EDT
I pointed this out on twitter earlier this week — if you read just one basketball story (not on PBT) this week, it should be Chris Ballard’s profile of Tim Duncan. This is what the best of sports writing looks like, and Ballard has killed it with a few pieces these playoffs.
But I will share the juiciest part of the Duncan piece with you — he can’t stand Kevin Garnett. Which makes me want a Celtics vs. Spurs NBA finals all the more.
It’s not hard to imagine the intense-but-reserved Duncan clashing with the intense-in-your-face Garnett. Here is what Ballard wrote.
In fact, Duncan hates Kevin Garnett. Hates him the way liberals hate Sean Hannity. This information comes from very reliable sources, who talk about how KG has made a career of trying to punk Duncan, baiting him and slapping him and whispering really weird smack into his ear. They talk about how funny this is, because the worst thing you can do as an opponent is piss off Duncan. Then, as Malik Rose says, “he f—— destroys you.” Duncan’s lifetime numbers versus Garnett’s teams, by the way: 19.4 points per game, 11.6 boards and a 44–17 record, including the postseason.
Duncan is diplomatic about the topic. Asked if perhaps all those years battling Garnett have softened his feelings for the man, led to a Magic-Larry type of kinship, Duncan leans back on the couch in his hotel room and grins. There is a pause. A longer pause. Finally he says, “Define kinship.”
Come on basketball gods, you robbed us of Derrick Rose these playoffs. You’ve made us suffer through the first two games of Philadelphia vs. Boston. You’ve exacted your pound of flesh. Can you at least give us Duncan vs. Garnett in the finals? Please.