Last week, Chris Ballard's amazing Sports Illustrated profile of Tim Duncan hit newsstands and offered a fascinating look at a guy who has all too often been dismissed as "boring."
Among the many gems of the profile (and there are many) was one section where Ballard writes that Duncan and fellow star big man Kevin Garnett have some... uh... issues.
In fact, 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. They talk about how funny this is, because the worst thing you can do as an opponent is piss off Duncan. Then, as Malik Rose says, "he f------ destroys you." Duncan's lifetime numbers versus Garnett's teams, by the way: 19.4 points per game, 11.6 boards and a 44--17 record, including the postseason.
Duncan is diplomatic about the topic. 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."
Tim Duncan hates someone? The Tim Duncan that carries himself like the nicest guy in school? The one who doesn't worry about cliques and eats lunch with different people all the time and one time helped that kid with the glasses out of the trash can and told him to keep his chin up (probably)? That Tim Duncan? Why?
Some intense Googling reveals one potential source of the hatred...
NOTE: This is an unsubstantiated rumor and should be treated as such.
The story goes that on May 9, 1999 (Mother's Day), Tim Duncan's Spurs played Kevin Garnett's Timberwolves in the first round of the NBA playoffs. During that game, Garnett, who is known for his incessant need to trash talk and intense dislike for any sort of decency did what he does best. He went too far.
Just as Tim Duncan was going to take two free throws, Garnett barked at him:
Tim Duncan's mother famously died of breast cancer the day before his 14th birthday.
If that's true, Kevin Garnett is an evil dude.