Former NBA players often have a way of exaggerating their careers, adding to the lore behind their legendary efforts during their playing days. Usually, those players have a lot to boast about namely in the form of championships (plural).
In the case of the 2008 Celtics Big Three – in particular Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett – however, they have chosen to milk the ever-loving hell out of their one title won the back of a team with four future hall of famers.
The latest example is Garnett, the man best known for wearing his hood on the furthest point possible on his head. The big man nabbed a role in the critically acclaimed movie Uncut Gems alongside Adam Sandler which means he has been making the rounds on a promotional tour for the flick. That led him to Bill Simmons’ podcast on The Ringer and you know that getting Simmons and Garnett in a room together is the perfect storm for some revisionist history to happen.
Here’s what Garnett had to say about the Celtics’ impact on LeBron James, namely sending him to the Miami Heat because they “broke” him, and why the then-broken James ended what only Celtics fans would call their dynasty.
“We broke LeBron. So get your a** out of here with that.”
— The Ringer (@ringer) December 18, 2019
Let’s take this one point at a time:
Simmons is talking about the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals where the Celtics took a 3-2 lead which they then blew, getting outscored by a combined 32 points in the last two games of the series. When Simmons asks Garnett if they were trying to break LeBron by talking smack after winning game five in Miami, Garnett says:
“We broke LeBron. So get your ass out of here with that. You understand how he got to Miami, Bill? You remember that? So stop bringing it up.”
I guess the implication here is that the Celtics beat the Cavaliers so much that LeBron decided to go team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. They beat the Cavs in the second round in 2010 en route to losing to the Lakers in the Finals which ultimately was the last time LeBron played for the Cavaliers before heading to South Beach. Before that, they had beaten LeBron a grand total of one other time in the playoffs.
Did that break LeBron? That uh seems like a stretch. James had made the Finals with a Cavaliers team that might not have sniffed the playoffs without him. The Celtics may have inspired James’ move to Miami to build a super team, but it wasn’t because they kept beating him. It’s because they were a collection of three “superstars” who had never had even close to the individual success that LeBron had had to that point.
And it’s rich to call James broken when he dropped a cool 45 points, 15 rebounds and five assists on your head in one elimination game (Wade was the only other Heat player in double digits with 17 points on 17 shot attempts) and a pedestrian 31 points and 12 rebounds in game seven.
Oh by the way, here’s LeBron’s Heat teammate Chris Bosh talking about KG’s impact on that team coming together from an interview in March with Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports:
“Everytime I come here [to All-Star], I am always looking at two or three guys from the top team in the East, or the top two or three teams in the East,” Bosh recalls. “Around that time, there was always this buzz and excitement, like, ‘Are you guys going to win it? Who’s gonna win it?’ And me … it was just like … I’m just here.”
Didn’t KG feel that in Minny?
Garnett did not blast him for asking. Instead, he offered some sage advice that, months later, would seal the deal for Bosh to go to Miami.
“You want to play with people who can take pressure off you, that way you don’t have to worry about other things,” Bosh remembers Garnett telling him. “You can just play basketball.”
Garnett, of course, was traded to Boston from Minnesota in a somewhat shady deal led by former Celtics and then-Wolves general manager Kevin McHale. It only happened because the Celtics also got Ray Allen, convincing Garnett to sign an extension with them after the trade. So even if your rebuttal to all this is that he was traded to Boston and didn’t go there as a free agent, you’re just as full of it as Garnett; he had all the leverage in making his preferred move happen.
Oh also, Garnett said some shit about the NBA AGENDA being the reason why Miami beat them, to which I say Hahahahahahahahahahaha. This is the new “if Kendrick Perkins had played, we would have beat the Lakers” and it’s god damn hilarious.(The free throw advantage in game six went to the Heat by a whopping two attempts).
Kevin Garnett is full of shit.