This episode of Beef Historical past particulars the feud between the best participant in Minnesota Timberwolves historical past, Kevin Garnett, and the billionaire who owned the franchise for Garnett’s entire profession, Glen Taylor. It’s a grim, heartbreaking historical past that illustrates how the basketball excellence that makes gamers millionaires makes franchisees billionaires, how necessary it’s to encompass a star with different nice gamers, and the way a 3rd celebration’s presence or absence can modulate a feud (relaxation in peace, Flip Saunders). I’m glad we made this episode. It’s a helpful complement to the Wolves Collapse. That stated, this wasn’t the Beef Historical past I got down to produce.
I initially began researching the feud between Garnett and his longest-running, most efficient co-star in Minnesota. I’ll offer you a second to attempt to keep in mind who that was.
Wally Szczerbiak. Yeah. As a result of Minnesota management made horrid strikes and cheated their means into dropping a bunch of draft picks, Wally World might be the second-best Wolf of the KG period. Or not less than he was probably the most constant second-best Wolf, since guys like Stephon Marbury, Tom Gugliotta, Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell didn’t stick round for lengthy. Szczerbiak was Garnett’s teammate for six and a half seasons, nearly all of KG’s first Minnesota stint.
Szczerbiak arrived as a 1999 lottery choose, quickly after Garnett’s record-setting contract extension and the dissolution of Garnett’s unique supporting forged. Wally was a superb second scorer, really glorious taking pictures from outdoors, and really made one All-Star group in 2002. He wasn’t ok, although, and he didn’t precisely get together with Garnett, beginning with a practice confrontation in Szczerbiak’s second season that nearly boiled over into a full-fledged fight.
Since Garnett and Szczerbiak spent a lot time as teammates, I used to be curious how their relationship unfolded after that blow-up. These comments, initially revealed within the St. Paul Pioneer Press, appear to sum up the dynamic between two coworkers who positively didn’t like one another, however in all probability didn’t hate one another as a lot as some would possibly assume:
“We’re two completely completely different folks from two completely completely different components of the earth,” Garnett stated Friday earlier than Minnesota’s recreation at Houston in opposition to the Rockets. “I believe persons are wanting it to be greater than what it actually was. It wasn’t like we hated one another. We spoke each day, stated what’s up, had conversations, cracked jokes, identical to some other teammate in right here. Basketball-wise, got here in, did what we needed to do to get a win. Typically we didn’t get it. We’re each aggressive.”
The perceived rift between the gamers has been scrutinized since Garnett and Szczerbiak had a scuffle within the group’s coaching room in November 2000.
However they coexisted amicably through the years. Garnett invited Szczerbiak to the U.S. Open tennis championship final summer season in New York.
“I’ve by no means had (a) beef with World,” Garnett stated. “Personally, we had been teammates. We understood that. I understood that. As the first (choice) on this group, I felt it was my duty to have the ball come by means of me, and I consolidated and distributed to everyone. I don’t know if World was bothered by that.”
These quotes come from the week in 2006 when Minnesota traded Szczerbiak to the Celtics, which is after all precisely what they’d do with Garnett in 2007. Garnett initially balked at being traded to the Celtics, and you’ll find rumors from the period suggesting KG’s negativity had one thing to do with Wally being in Boston. I’m not satisfied these rumors had been correct, nevertheless it didn’t matter anyway, because the commerce that helped persuade Garnett to simply accept the Celtics commerce— Boston’s acquisition of Ray Allen — additionally despatched Wally to Seattle. It was a hell of a factor for Garnett to hitch Allen AND Paul Pierce after a decade throughout which the second most efficient Timberwolf was Wally Szczerbiak.
Szczerbiak vs. Garnett wasn’t completely carried out, although. The battle isn’t only one apply battle adopted by a number of years of iciness. Szczerbiak grew to become a media man after retiring as a participant, and made headlines in 2012 with a dumbass, later-deleted tweet proclaiming his former teammate lacked the “clutch gene”, which is without doubt one of the dumber fake-serious ideas in sports activities. Wally kinda recanted a week later, though his further feedback had been simply as foolish. Wally’s nonetheless on TV now. I’ve to observe that dude discuss in regards to the Knicks a number of nights per week.
Anyway, yeah, I didn’t discover sufficient meat on the Szczerbiak-Garnett bone for a Beef Historical past episode. Wally’s story works higher as a element within the grander conflict between Garnett and his shitty employer, Glen Taylor. Positively an odd relationship, although, and an necessary one, when you think about Szczerbiak’s relative prominence on these Timberwolves of the 2000s. That intermittent, intra-player battle appears like a symptom of the bigger player-owner beef. A sub-beef. A beefling.