Posted: Monday November 21, 2005 1:24PM; Updated: Monday November 21, 2005 3:19PM
Kevin Garnett's criticism of T'wolves boss Kevin McHale on national TV seems as if it carried a deeper, unspoken message.
David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images
Losing changes a man. (I'm talking the "universal man" here, i.e. women, too; so forget those "you-sexist-hog" letters.) It challenges his notions of the rewards of hard work, sacrifice, discipline and excellence.
Losing creeps into his stomach and curls his shoulders. It makes his bones ache.
Losing makes a man do things he otherwise would not. What he once thought to be wrong suddenly doesn't seem so.
Losing messes with a man's brain. It causes him to doubt, to wonder whether he's who he thought he was.
In short, losing sucks.
Losing is why Kevin Garnett, one of sports' true pros, lost it a bit last week.
It's why the 6-foot-11, every-season All-Star and former MVP now in his 11th season (yes, 11) called out his boss' boss -- Minnesota Timberwolves VP/legend Kevin McHale -- on national TV last week. It's why he told Cheryl Miller the team exec had botched contract negotiations with former teammates Sam Cassell and Latrell (Feedin' His Family) Sprewell, and that McHale really wanted to coach but "didn't want the responsibility" to "manage those egos."
Losing lingers. The Timberwolves aren't exactly the hounds of the nascent NBA season. They're 5-4, good enough for first place in their division. But the wound that was last season -- when the team, one year after reaching the Western Conference finals, failed to make the playoffs for the first time since Garnett's rookie season -- clearly have not healed.
Garnett's words were not uncharacteristic; he'd expressed those same sentiments to McHale and team owner Glen Taylor. That he chose to convey them clearly, succinctly and emphatically to a national television audience was a bit out of the box for him. And that spoke volumes.
Play the tape backwards and you just might hear Garnett say, "It's on." And perhaps even: "I'm out."