Ahh, the 75th Anniversary ceremony for the All-Star game. Time for cherished teammates and distinguished rivals to celebrate their legacies and embrace each other’s unique stamp. It is a brotherhood after all, right? Well, not if your Kevin Garnett.
I get not inviting Ray Allen to the classic ’08 championship reunions, but cmon. This is petty. This is ‘my little brother moved out of home before I did and I’m still angry about it 10 years later’ petty.
Here’s some context for those who have lived under a rock since 2012.
The Celtics were really good.
The Celtics lost to an excellent Heat team.
The Celtics were also really old.
Ray Allen left the Celtics to join that Heat team.
The remaining Celtics got upset as Ray Allen struck it big again.
Wait a moment, is that even petty?
Kevin Garnett was great. He played every defensive possession like the final score dictated his children’s life expectancy. Even when the ball wasn’t in play he would swat the opponent’s practice shots to the stands. Safe to say that type of intensity rubs off on your teammates. Hell, that edge is why he was great. It’s why he won an NBA championship despite spending 84% of his prime with a morbid franchise. That’s just Kevin Garnett.
But holding a professional grudge from over a decade ago because he left your team before you believed the ride was over. That’s Kevin Garnett too. So you have to take the good with the bad.
That’s why when it means zilch to real NBA fans when he shucks off fake praise to Allen.
“I wish Ray all the best, and I wish him and his family all the best, and whatever he’s doing, I’ll always be supportive of it,” Garnett said. “And that’s all I got to say.”
Because we know this is the true KG
So to answer the question. Yes, Garnett is petty. Okay, but is he at least justified?
Did Ray’s departure cost the Celtics a title?
There are two schools of thought here:
1. An intact big three with Rondo’s emergence was championship material.
That championship-proven Celtics squad took the soon-to-be champion Heatles to 7 games in Ray’s last year. That’s a prime LeBron team mixed in with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh just scrapping through the Celtics. Because as Boston’s famous core three aged, a prime and offensively dynamic Rajon Rondo exploded, turning the team into the Big 4. This forgotten version of Rondo scored 44 points in Game 2 of that series.
Yes kids, Rondo was once able to create his own shot in high-stakes games. This would at least make them contenders, which should have been good enough for Allen not to leave.
While the post-Ray Celtics crumbled, losing to the Knicks in just the first round - the Heat team needed Ray to win. It’s not like Ray was still a star. He wasn’t even a formidable starter. But how unbeatable were those Celtics’ rivals if they only won off the back of this shot?
2. It didn’t matter - the Celtics were finished and LeBron had next.
Spoiler alert: This is the right one.
LeBron winning that championship in ’12 was like Elon Musk creating the Tesla engine. Once it was complete, it took him to a whole new level of power. Nobody was stopping him.
The Celtics were like trying to rebrand the Delorean. It had its moment but wasn’t coming back. If they couldn’t win in ‘09-’12, they didn’t have a better chance in ’13. Not with the rising tension between Allen and Rondo anyhow.
So why not just give up the one-sided pettiness and embrace Ray Allen, the key contributor to the outstanding ’08 championship team? Because if not for that pettiness, that edge, Celtics fans have no championship to celebrate in the first place.