A whole lot is being made out of this picture, so I thought I'd address it here.
A lot of the outrage is coming from Bulls fans, so I can write most of it off as bitterness and misdirected frustration. I am certain that if Garnett was on the Bulls, none of those fans would have any problems with how he acts.
With that said, there's a growing sentiment around the internet community (ie. bloggers) that KG has gone too far this year. Like somehow he's flipped a switch and gone over the top with his antics now that he's on a winner.
A Stern Warning sums the sentiment up nicely:
The question is, has Garnett always been this intensely arrogant and he just got a free pass because he played for the TWolves and everyone felt sorry for him and the losing ways he had to put up with? Or perhaps he was always this loudly irritating and it was merely a case of noone hearing it (if a KG barks in the woods of Minnesota and noone is there, does it make a noise?). Others have the theory that his behaviour has ramped up as a result of him joining a star-laden championship squad.
I'm obviously biased, but I don't see any difference in KG. I've always loved Garnett, even when he was on the Timberwolves. I distinctly remember him growling and yelling at Tim Duncan in the same way he's yelling at Gordon in the picture above.
Look, I get it. I understand why KG isn't everybody's cup of tea. He absolutely is over the top. He does talk trash. He does get down on his hands and knees for no apparent reason other than to fire himself (and perhaps his teammates and the fans) up. He did clap in the face of some opponents. This is all part of who he is and if you don't like that, fine.
Just understand that this is the same over-the-top intensity that drove him to be a superstar. It is the same fire that drove this team to a Championship last year.
So what has changed? I submit a few things have indeed changed. First of all the exposure has indeed put him under a greater microscope. More people are outraged by his actions because more people are seeing them.
Secondly, he has tasted his dream and he's hungry for more. His bubbling intensity was brilliantly focused in part by Ray Allen's perma-cool and Paul Pierce's cold blooded swagger. He reached his goal of a Championship and came back this year looking for ways to stay focused on getting another one. When a hyper-intense guy looks for ways to fire himself up, yeah, it pretty much comes out as wild eyed psycho lunacy.
Finally, he's been taken off the court by an injury. We all wondered why he couldn't just sit on the bench during the regular season. Now we know why. He really can't control himself. He's so hyper competitive that his only outlet is profanity laced screaming at the opposition. In his mind, he's just being a good teammate, backing up his boys.
Like I said, not everyone is going to like it, but Kevin Garnett is who he is and always has been. I'll take him on my team anytime.