Well, I'm here to make sure that one of my favorite players and one of the greatest Celtics of all-time gets his proper due as the winner, trendsetter and creative genius that he is.
Kevin Garnett has long been recognized as one of those true superstars of the game who come along only once in a blue (and green?) moon and do SO many things in such a way that they become prototypical for players at their position for years to come. He's redefined the job specs for Power Forwards in the League, infusing the spot with a versatility and ferocious brand of defense heretofore unseen in such a lean, mean package. And now, as he has been for the past couple of years, KG is on a mission to try and conquor the Center position as well, even at the (by NBA standards) advanced age of 36.
But, what is this painfully primal practice to which I am referring? Why, I'm talking about that timeless crunching classic, that surefire shot, that tried-and-true tapper so popular that it has not only propelled the program America's Funniest Home Videos to the pinnacle of pugilistic pageantry making them the grand high kings of comedic culture, it has also enabled them to celebrate an amazing (and some might say agonizingly achieved) milestone (more on this later) recently. I speak, of course, about the act and the art of hitting, slapping or punching another human male "where the sun don't usually shine."
The art of the Nutcracker -- or Junkshot, if you will -- has made a crushing comeback on NBA courts around the country this season and, if this lake is traced back directly to its tributary, one can only end their noble journey at the feet (and hand) of that Celtic trailblazer (now THAT'S an oxymoron if I ever heard one!) The Big Ticket himself. Or had you forgotten his magnificent marble masher against Phoenix Sun Chandler Frye back in 2011?
Now, I know what some of you are thinking: "If Garnett is such a trendsetter, why did it take so long for the 'Sack Snap' -- or Oyster Shooter, if you will -- to catch on?" My answer to you is: "I. Don't. Know."
The best that I can assume is that, like many transformative trends, it took a while to catch fire, much as the hot of-the-moment fashions of Paris eventually find their way to Los Angeles and New York months later (and to the middle states a few years after that); like old sitcoms -- "Everybody Loves Raymond," for instance -- that trickle over time to the likes of Sweden years later as "Alla älskar Raymond" or something of that nature, so, too does the inherent genius of a player of Garnett's ilk take its time to marinate and flavor the NBA like a nice, juicy steak.
Scoff you may, but this ball-busting trend seems to be swelling by the day. Remember this special Christmas delivery from DeMarcus Cousins to O.J. Mayo back in December?
And, most recently, taking the trend to a new high...er, low...shot-blocker turned *ock-socker Serge Ibaka of the Oklahoma City Thunder practiced against the privates of the league's top ball-slammer Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers:
The NBA has fined Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka $25,000 for striking Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers in the groin area.
The incident, which was called a Flagrant Foul 1 on the floor and upgraded to a Flagrant Foul 2 upon league office review, occurred with 1:52 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Thunder’s 108-104 win over the Clippers on Sunday, March 3 at Staples Center.
The announcement was made by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.
In fact, this trend is becoming such a hit that some of the game's most notorious...ahhh...ball-busters are lamenting the fact that they're perhaps too late to the party:
Now, you KNOW that if a guy like Matt Barnes wishes he could do it, it MUST be bad@$$!
And, just think about the marketing possibilities that abound for players if the "Whack-A-Sack" becomes a signature move in the NBA: protective groin cups will make a comeback, opening up yet another revenue stream for endorsement-hungry players -- "Hi, my name is LeBron James and I'm a professional basketball player for the Miami Heat. I'm committed to helping my team win not just one Championship, so I don't have time to be laying on the court tucked into the fetal position crying like a little b*tch after some lower-level @$$hole takes a swipe at the 'Little King.' That's why I wear (insert cool new protective groin cup company here)."
Maybe they can turn those hot magnetic bracelets into a waist chain that helps build a force field that protects "what lies beneath," or on the offensive side, maybe they can sell wrist workout tapes designed to help you build the strength and stamina needed to pull off the proper "*ick flick." Back again to prevention, maybe they could market a new kind of "Icy Hot" geared specifically for the nether-region that renders the vulnerable area sensation-free in the event of a "Sack Attack." This may even come in handy for many players who tend to -- how should we say? -- "give the fans what they want" which can sometimes lead to a severe case of "brain strain," if you will.
But, of course, just as any popular trend will tend to produce scores of supporters, so too, do they attract members of the "No-Fun Brigade" who are always eager to step up to try and throw a cold, wet blanket over the entire proceeding:
I guess, in the end, it's probably for the best. After all, as the saying goes, the best are often imitated but never duplicated and I firmly believe that none of these "Weed Wackers," if you will, will ever be able to hold a candle to a true original like KG. Besides, if the NBA "Number Crunchers," if you will, keep going at this clip, guys like Tom Bergeron -- host of the above referenced America's Funniest Home Videos -- will eventually have nowhere to store all of that footage...
While he, of course, noted with a laugh that in the 500th episode “they’ll be a lot more people falling down and doing ridiculous things,” Bergeron also revealed there would be another milestone for the show that same night: the 1,000,000 groin shot.No, perhaps we should just put this topic on ice, let the burning questions cool and recede after one last hand for Kevin Garnett, and take the knee on this one...