Kevin Garnett's legacy will be damaged by going too far.
Per A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England, Garnett entered a verbal and physical scuffle with Carmelo Anthony during a game on January 7, 2013. Upon the conclusion of the battle between the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks, the drama spilled off of the court.
Anthony waited for Garnett by the Celtics' team bus after the game. The shouting match continued with police and security officers standing by.
According to Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com, 'Melo had the following to say about the scuffle:
“There’s certain things that you just don’t say to men, another man. I felt he crossed the line,” Anthony explained. “We have an understanding right now. We handled it the way we handled it. Nobody needs to know what was said behind closed doors, so that situation is handled.”
Robert Littal of Black Sports Online reports that KG made comments pertaining to Carmelo's wife.
This isn't the first time Garnett has crossed the line. In fact, he has made a career out of saying and doing the things that most would call unacceptable.
Charlie Villanueva anyone?
Charlie Villanueva suffers from alopecia universalis (via Sports Illustrated). The disease is non-life threatening, but it leads to a complete loss of body hair.
With this in mind, one can see why Kevin Garnett supposedly calling Villanueva "a cancer patient" is so controversial (via CBS Sports).
Garnett later clarified his remarks. Head coach Doc Rivers confirmed his statements (via CSN New England).
KG claims that he did not call Villanueva a "cancer patient." Instead, he referred to Charlie V as a "cancer."
You know, something better and more acceptable.
The Endless Tim Duncan Saga
Chris Ballard of Sports Illustrated ran an article on Tim Duncan during May of 2012. In said article, it was established that Duncan "hates" Kevin Garnett.
If you can get under the skin of the calm-mannered Duncan, you're doing something right. Or wrong.
Take your pick:
Duncan hates Kevin Garnett. Hates him the way liberals hate Sean Hannity. This information comes from very reliable sources, who talk about how KG has made a career of trying to punk Duncan, baiting him and slapping him and whispering really weird smack into his ear.
Asked if perhaps all those years battling Garnett have softened his feelings for the man, led to a Magic-Larry type of kinship, Duncan leans back on the couch in his hotel room and grins. There is a pause. A longer pause. Finally he says, "Define kinship."
Garnett has crossed the line with Duncan. Numerous times.
As the video below will display, Garnett infamously slapped Duncan across the back of the head. He's also trash-talked him in manners that most would not feel comfortable repeating around their parents.
We won't touch on the unconfirmed rumors surrounding the "Mother's Day of 1999" incident.
Joakim Noah and Fan Perception
If any player has ever made accurate comments pertaining to Kevin Garnett, it's Joakim Noah.
Per ESPN Chicago, Noah infamously stated that he "doesn't like KG." He also stated that he used to look up to Garnett.
Oh, how times have changed:
"I don't like him...He's a very mean guy," Noah said Wednesday. "Where's the love? None at all. Ugly, too."
"I had his poster in my room," Noah said. "I used to wear his jersey. And the truth is my rookie year, I was in admiration of this guy, and he kind of shut me down.
"...He's not nice. I talk a lot of trash out there, but c'mon, be a little sensitive. Be sweet."
That's exactly the way Garnett's legacy could be tarnished.
KG has long been one of the most popular players in the NBA. Both fans and younger NBA players idolized him at one point, as Garnett dominated the league for over a decade.
Unfortunately, he has evolved into the complete opposite of a fan favorite.
Garnett is, undeniably, one of the greatest power forwards in NBA history. His tendency to go too far, however, has created a new legacy.
One of fan hatred. One which creates the perception that KG lacks respect.
Fortunately, KG doesn't care for theories of who he is. He plays to win.
We may not ever give Garnett the credit he deserves for how he's revolutionized the game of basketball. In fact, we may remember his trash talking before we recall his NBA championship, 2004 MVP award, 2008 Defensive Player of the Year honor and 14 All-Star appearances.
Quite frankly, none of this phases KG. Not as long as his eye is on the prize.
This is exactly why he's one of the greatest to ever do it. Regardless of how others may perceive him, KG does anything it takes to get the win.
Even if that means damaging his fan-perceived legacy.