Most fans knew Kevin Garnett as one of the toughest players in the NBA. His grit and intensity were remarkable, and it was no surprise he engaged in skirmishes with some of his peers in the league. While KG was famous for being hard, the narrative of his 2007 scuffle with Antonio McDyess suggested that he backpedaled as he didn’t want no piece of “Dice.”
Dice knows money is important
Taking a trip down memory lane, it was a January game between the Detroit Pistons and the Minnesota Timberwolves. The game was tied with more than five minutes left in the fourth quarter when then-Pistons forward McDyess got tangled up with former T-Wolves big man Mark Madsen.
Rip Hamilton drew a foul, and Madsen hit the floor off a shove from McDyess after the whistle. Garnett thought McDyess pulled off an unnecessary play on Madsen, so he chucked the ball at “Dice.” The fired-up McDyess was ready to hit back, and KG appeared to have swung at him in the middle of the altercation. Garnett began backing up while McDyess was being stopped from attacking the Minnesota superstar.
Known for being silent and peaceful, McDyess said he got mad, but he still managed to think straight and thought about the fines and suspension.
“I wasn’t going to swing, because it was a waste of my time,” McDyess said via SB Nation. “What for? I never threw the punch. I wanted to, but I didn’t. I thought about all the money…That really made me angry and I thought about going after the guy. I mean, if we get suspended and thrown out, why can’t the fan get thrown out if the referee is listening to that. But I just walked away, I wasn’t going to do a Ron Artest.”
McDyess went on and implied that at the end of the day, the Timberwolves were on the losing end, saying, “I know they can win without me. I don’t think they can win without KG.”
Fines are fine
On the other hand, Madsen blogged about the incident on his website. Like McDyess, Madsen knew the Timberwolves couldn’t win without Garnett. At the time, Minnesota badly needed to win games, so Madsen was “hoping that the NBA chooses to issue fines as a form of discipline for those of us involved instead of any sort of suspensions.”
“KG is the spoon that stirs the pot for our team and Antonio McDyess is an important piece for the Pistons and has been ever since he arrived,” Madsen wrote. “I don’t think tonight’s incident was a fight and in my mind, being ejected is punishment enough in terms of lost minutes.”
In the end, Garnett, who was almost single-handedly carrying the Timberwolves that season, averaging 22.2 points and 12.8 rebounds per game, was slapped with a one-game suspension. Meanwhile, it was a win-win situation for McDyess, who got to keep his money as the NBA didn’t hand him any fines.