Boston Celtics Star Kevin Garnett Accused of Tanking Minnesota Timberwolves

Photoshop of Kevin Garnett Tanks Timberwolves

In 1995 Kevin Garnett was drafted 5th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves out of Chicago Farragut Academy High School at the age of 19.  “The Kid” was the first player in 20 some years to make the jump from high school to professional basketball in the NBA.  He immediately became known as “The Franchise” essentially for being the pillar of the Minnesota Timberwolves.  He played there for 12 seasons and was the highest tenured player with one team before being traded to the Boston Celtics in the biggest trade (most players included) in NBA history.  The Celtics also added Ray Allen and already had Paul Pierce, so the three stars set the bar high for the Celtics.

KG changed his number from 21 to 5 but his high level of play has continued as the Celtics are cruising into the playoffs as division winners and the Timberwolves have won less than 25% of their games.  During his time in Minnesota, “The Big Ticket” won Olympic gold, League and All Star MVP trophies, 11 All Star appearances, 8 time All-Defensive and All-NBA, won rebound and points titles, playoff appearances, and even the J. Walter Kennedy Citizen Award… not to mention numerous T’wolves franchise records.  He is considered by many to be one of the top players in the league now, and possibly ever.

In 2004 the T’wolves streak of eight consecutive trips to the playoffs hit an end and the team started to fall apart.  Throughout all of the problems, it was perceived that even while frustrated, KG wanted to stick it out and the team owner Glen Taylor intended to accommodate that.  That being said, Garnett’s name continued to come up in trade rumors and finally the trade to Boston, GM Kevin McHale’s old team, happened.  The two teams went in opposite directions.  Now Taylor has made the mistake of claiming Garnett “tanked it” last year with an injury in the final handful of games.  Garnett has been loved by fans for his hard work and dedication to winning, seemingly earning all of his money.  They lost him sure, but it did not seem to be too much bad blood between KG and the twin-cities fans.  It is also worth noting that the team has long been accused of tanking games to gain better draft spots.  In these few poorly chosen words, Taylor may have isolated THE player that should be immortalized as the Timberwolves’ finest player.  When he retires, he may not be too thrilled to be associated with a team that spit on his legacy in a fit of sour grapes.

If the Celtics win a championship, Glen Taylor has lost his “Big Ticket” and his “Franchise” likely for good.

Suns v. Lakers: Shaq is Back!

Sorry, Los Angeles. Not like this:

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About the time this posts, Shaquille O’Neal will be playing his first game for his new squad, the Phoenix Suns….and they’re playing his old squad, the L.A. Lakers. In case you’ve been snoozing, there were some other trades: Jason Kidd to the Mavericks, Pau Gasol to the Lakers and even Spanky’s boy Mike Bibby to the Hawks (Ohhh…that’s soupy…Spanky won’t like it one bit). When i first heard about the Shaq trade, I thought the Suns were crazy (2 reasons: 1. Shaq doesn’t fit their style and 2. Shaq is broke). After some reflection, I’m pretty sure I was wrong on both counts. We’ve known for years that Shaq has made a living out of making sure he doesn’t have to play a full 82 in the regular season. Shaq’s not broke…he’s just been in hibernation again. How do I know? Shaq told us today:

“I’m more like a senior adviser so I don’t like to come in here and try to take over,” O’Neal said. … “Just like your basic karate movie where the young guys come to the old guys with beards who have them do weird stuff to get to the other side. That’s who I am, the old guy with a long beard.”

Long pause.

“You like that analogy?” he said, obviously pleased with himself. “That was pretty good?”

Point? It’s on. Shaq only drops quotes when he’s ready to rock, and the Lakers have been running people out of the gym lately. Tonight is a microcosm of the season. Exciting game. Exciting playoffs upcoming. I’m stoked. Besides, these 2 used to be buds:

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I had to mention the subplot…ever heard this one before? And as for Shaq not fitting the Suns’ system, I anticipate a “peanut butter and choccolate” moment. This is must-see TV.

You Heard it Here First: The way I see it, the defection of talent to the Western Conference only makes it more likely that the road to the finals in the West becomes a pitfall for one of the (“true”) contenders. Phoenix got sidetracked last year by Bob Horry’s crazy-but-clutch-assso did Dallas (as the #1 seed). The Western title has now become it’s own battle royale…and did you ever see Hogan volunteer to fight a match with the Giant after winning a battle royale? We may not see another big upset like last year because upsets in the NBA playoffs are a true rarity (with the 7-game format), but the winners in the West will expend major energy to get there. Meanwhile, the Celtics (and the NBA’s best record) are chillin in the East. Everyone thinks the infusion of talent into the West means a western champion…I’m not so sure. I like the Celtics more every day that the West gets better and the Cs stay (relatively) injury-free (read: KG may be “rusty as hell,” but he’ll be ready come playoff time).

As this dude would say,

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“Ding. Ding.”

photos: http://www.manfredojr.co.uk/images/apollo-creed.jpg, http://alltalksports.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/shaq-and-kobe.jpg, http://www.juneauempire.com/images/102802/shaq.jpg

Update: Shaq debuted with 15 points and 9 rebounds in 130-124 loss (Kobe had 41 points)

Viral Video: Vince Carter Dunks Over 7 foot Frédéric Weis in 2000 Olympics

Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic wowed the world this week with his Superman slam dunk at the 2008 NBA All-Star game in New Orleans. Many have called Howard’s performance the best ever. Without bringing up the classic dunks of Michael Jordan or Dominique Wilkins, there still may be a dunk that carries even more “wow” power than the amazing dunk we just saw a few days ago.

In the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, Team USA aka The Dream Team (sort of), included all veteran NBA professionals, the closest thing to a “rising star” on that team was the high-flying Vince Carter with his 43″ vertical jump. On the way to winning the gold medal the United States played France and Vince Carter performed one of the greatest slam dunks of all time when he jumped over 7’2″ Frédéric Weis. The dunk has been called “French Toast” and “le dunk de la mort” (the dunk of death). Weis will always be remembered for being posterized by Carter… or in New York for being drafted by the Knicks 15th overall in 1999 and never stepping foot in the NBA.

Bonus Coverage: And 1′s Taurian Fontenette aka “The Air Up There” and the 720 dunk & Slam Nation’s Kadour Ziani

Dwight Howard Superman Dunk Wins 2008 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Dwight Howard as Superman

Orlando Magic superstar Dwight Howard put on an amazing show for the second year in a row at the 2008 Sprite NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest. The difference from last year is that this time in New Orleans, Dwight Howard walked away as the slam dunk champion. Last year Howard jumped 12’6″ and slapped a sticker of his face on the backboard and received decent but not great scores from the historic judges panel of Michael “Air” Jordan, Dominique “Human Highlight Film” Wilkins, Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Darryl “Chocolate Thunder” Dawkins, and Kobe Bryant. Howard lost and vowed to dunk on everyone for the second half of last season while his team created a little spoof video called “The Sticker Dunk Controversy” supporting the 6’11″ 270lb phenom.

This year’s skills contests actually brought back excitement to the festivities that have been losing steam over the last few years. Utah Jazz point guard Deron Williams set a new record in beating 2-time defending champion Dwayne Wade in the Skills Competition. Jason Kapono of the Toronto Raptors tied Mark Price’s single round record of 25 points and successfully defended his Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout title. The all-star game itself was won by the underdog Eastern Conference and the MVP trophy went to the current face of the NBA, LeBron James who almost had a triple-double.

The slam dunk area of all-star weekend has become “yawn inspiring” over the years as the rules have changed and seemingly all dunks have been seen before. Last year Gerald Green, then of the Boston Celtics, defeated Howard and 5’9″ defending champion Nate Robinson. This year Green, now of the Minnesota Timberwolves (came over as part of the Kevin Garnett trade), completed a dunk where he placed a cupcake on the rim, lit a candle, and then slammed the ball while blowing the candle out. It wasn’t enough as Howard completed the top two dunks and others that were just out of this world. The announcers made reference that two of the dunks should be regarded as all-time “top 5″ dunks. In one, Howard threw the ball off of the back of the backboard and came around to the front in the air and dunked it. Another one he bounced the ball off the floor, tapped it with his left hand into the backboard in mid-air, and dunked it with his right.

Those amazing dunks will not be the image people will have of this contest when looking back. The lasting memory will be of former #1 overall draft pick Dwight Howard donning a cape, taking his jersey off (exposing a Superman jersey below), and flying through the air so high that he had to throw the ball down through the hoop. Dwight Howard jumps so high that he can almost literally “kiss the rim” and on this dunk he was “flying” as the announcers were saying. Dwight Howard may have revived one of the favorite parts of the NBA All-Star weekend by his amazing performance. There has never been a big man that can jump as well as Howard and some of the dunks he did, he may be the only person in the world capable of doing them. It will be interesting to see what Superman has planned for next year when he has to defend his title.

Watch the 2008 NBA Slam Dunk Contest Highlights or Dwight Howard practicing his dunks before the competition presented by Vitamin Water.

image source: www.chinadaily.com.cn/sports/2008-02/18/content_6462042.htm and NO that image is NOT photoshopped