Let’s start off by saying this: Kevin McHale was the person with the foresight to draft an 18 year-old Kevin Garnett way back in the 1995 NBA Draft. That draft pick alone deserves kudos. Especially considering that Garnett was the first high school player since Moses Malone in 1974, to go straight from High School to the NBA. Garnett’s success began the over influx of High School players to go straight to the NBA. An influx that saw high school players go from prom king and dunking on 5’8″, future JuCo role players, in musty smelling gymnasiums, to spending a few unsuccessful years in the NBA and heading to play ball in Turkey (packing with them their English-Turkish dictionary and the label of “BUST”).
Fast foward to today. Kevin McHale fired his head coach and named himself interim coach, for the team he hand crafted himself (Worked out well for Isiahi Thomas, so why not give it a crack). A team he molded to mush when he sold off his best player, face of the franchise, and all world, Kevin Garnett, to his former team the Boston Celtics, a year ago. In Boston, a place where McHale inscribed his own legacy as a Hall of Fame player, GM Danny Ainge needed, himself to make a big shake up, before his was handed a pink slip, and in the end McHale was still scoring points on the old parquet floor in Boston, by dealing them KG and immediately making Boston, into contenders. McHale handed over Garnett to the T-Wolves, in a manor that seemed too ‘laxed and too willingly. Unfortunately for McHale and his legacy as General Manager of the Wolves, the one season that Kevin Garnett has spent in Boston, has surpassed any of Garnett’s accomplishments he made in his 12-years and 10 allstar teams with Minnesota. McHale failed to build around Kevin Garnett during his tenure playing for the Wolves, with exception to the 2003-2004 season. That season McHale brought in perennial all-stars, Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell, to lend KG a hand. That season, the T’Wolves had their best season in franchise history, locking up the 1 seed in the playoffs and eventually losing to the Lakers in the semi-finals. Yet adding a supporting cast to Garnett’s versatile game and seeing the success it brought the team in ’03-’04, wasn’t enough of and indication for what McHale needed to do as a GM. He had the building block in Garnett, but never added any of the supporting beams you need to win a championship. After the ’03-’04 season, McHale dealt away Cassell for youth, and let Sprellwell walk (Rightfully so, as this was the situation that had Sprellwell say after being offered a, 3 years/$21 million contract, “I have a family to feed”). Although, in exchange for Garnett, McHale received a high potential player like Al Jefferson, and a player with decent talent in Ryan Gomes, McHale’s botch-up in the dealing of KG has cost his team any sort of level of status they had in the league, and also, in the end, will cost him his job. The NBA will see plenty of Al Jeffersons and Ryan Gomes, but the NBA won’t see another Kevin Garnett for a long while.
Unrelated to Sports: Today marks the 28th somber anniversary of John Lennon’s murder, outside The Dakota in New York City. Doing a little reading about this the other day, I was amazed by this little tidbit. Earlier in the day, before murdering him, Mark David Chapman hung around The Dakota, and actually asked Lennon to autograph a copy of Lennon’s new album, “Double Fantasy”. On the scene at that time was photographer, Paul Goresch, who actually took a picture of Lennon, signing the autograph, with Chapman clearly seen in the background…
Hours later, upon his return to The Dakota, Lennon was shot by Chapman four times. John Lennon would have been 68 if he was alive today. And although he died then, his music is still as popular as it ever was amongst people and the music community. In a three year span between ’65-’68, Lennon and The Beatles released “Sgt. Pepper’s”, “The White Album,” and “Abbey Road”- three of the most influential albums in Rock N’ Roll’s history in a mere three year span. A remarkable run. RIP- Mr. Lennon.