Do you remember Charles Oakley? There’s really no reason that you should. He was really good as a tough, defensive player. He was an All-Star…once, but Oakley is really remembered as an enforcer. So now that his career is over, he felt the need to stir the pot and get his name mentioned in the news again. On the Jim Rome Show, Oakley mouthed off about the toughness of Kevin Garnett. “Garnett left Minnesota and hollered and screamed and all that but he’s not a tough guy. He’s one of the weakest guys to ever play the game. He’s a complimentary player and went to Paul Pierce’s team and won a championship. I wouldn’t consider him a top 10 tough guy.” I can’t help but chuckle at Chuck’s comments. The fact is though, he’s kind of right.
Garnett isn’t the toughest guy in the NBA. His chest-pounding, battle-crying demeanor makes him seem like a gladiator, but in a fight, Garnett isn’t Oakley. However, what Oakley doesn’t understand is that Garnett’s game and behavior serves a definitive purpose. He tries, whichever way he can, to get in the opponents’ head. If you put up a three after the whistle, he’s going to snatch it out of the air to frustrate you. Rather than get ejected or pick up technical fouls and set his team back, he acts like a tough guy, all the while being self-aware. Oakley? Well I’m not sure if his 168 total technical fouls helped his team. Also, the notion that Garnett is a complimentary player is laughable. He’s a surefire Hall of Famer, and Pierce would never have gotten his championship without KG. Garnett’s exit from Minnesota was a painful, inner struggle for him, and one that Danny Ainge had to fight for vehemently, Garnett didn’t want to leave.
By the way, Charles, how many championships have you won? The deafening silence of me in my apartment is self-satisfying. Zero rings can make a man bitter. Finally, Oakley’s comment that Garnett is “one of the weakest guys to ever play the game” completely illegitimate any words that have ever come out of his mouth in his 48 years of uselessness. Garnett is a 14-time All-Star, 9-time NBA All-Defensive First Team and 4-time Rebounding Champion. Garnett is unquestionably one of the greatest defensive players of our time, and that sort of title doesn’t come from being weak. Oakley is an angry and frustrated man, feeling the aftermath of a mediocre career. Nobody recognizes him anymore, and nobody fears him on the low block. He’s probably signing autographs at a Toyota dealership in New Mexico somewhere. A fall from grace isn’t fun, but that’s no reason to mouth off about a player that’s legacy will make yours look like Eddie George’s. Stay quiet, Charles, and KG might just give you an autograph for your kids.