№37: Kevin Garnett Player Spotlight (Part II | The Latter Years) | This Week’s Comic Book Haul | Latest Book Finds | Funko POP! and a bunch of Mystery Minis

September 19, 2021

Welcome to the tedi.substack.com weekly newsletter! At the end of each week1, this newsletter will touch on any number of entertaining, informative, or (possibly) useful topics.

This week’s Player’ Spotlight is the second of a two-part deep dive into the career of 2020 Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett (Click here for Part I). Other sections of №37 include my latest Comic Book Haul installment, this week’s Book Finds, South Park Funko POP! Figures, and a bunch of Suicide Squad Mystery Minis.

Starting next week’s newsletter (№38), comics and collectibles will be moved to its very own section. Click here to subscribe for that particular content.

More after the jump.


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The concept behind my Player Spotlight segment was inspired by the writings of the late Zander Hollander (Sportswriter, archivist, and author of the ever informative The Complete Handbook of Pro Basketball) wherein he would write short and insightful entries on—then 20 something—NBA teams and their players for that particular season. With over 30 years of basketball knowledge under my belt, I decided to come up with my own short, free flowing, and non-linear/viewpoint narrative on a featured player. 

Kevin Garnett (Part II)

On July 31, 2007, Kevin Garnett became the centerpiece of the largest trade for a single player in NBA history. The deal involved the Boston Celtics parting with centers Al Jefferson and Theo Ratliff, small forward Ryan Gomes, shooting guard Gerald Green, point guard Sebastian Telfair, a top-three protected 2009 first-round draft pick (Wayne Ellington | 28th overall), and the 2009 first-round pick that originally belonged to the Timberwolves2 (Jonny Flynn | 6th overall) for small forward/power forward Kevin Garnett. That same day, the 12-year veteran extended his current contract to five-years after signing a three-year $60 million dollar extension.

As his familiar #21 was retired in honor of Bill Sharman (†), Garnett would go on to wear #5 for the Boston Celtics. Pictured: 1995-1996 Kevin Garnett Signature Rookies Autobilia G1 [7/260]

The Boston Celtics

On November 2, 2007, after playing a total of 927 games for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Kevin Garnett (22 points, 20 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, and 3 blocks) played his first game for the Boston Celtics in a home win against the Washington Wizards. Garnett, who had spent almost a decade as Minnesota’s only legitimate star, was now surrounded with a bevy of all-stars in shooting guard Ray Allen and small forward Paul Pierce. The trio was hailed by many in the media as the second coming of “The Big Three” (after Celtics’ icons Larry Joe Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish) and the hands down favorite to win the NBA title.

The Celtics (66-16) would not disappoint and went on to be a dominant force all season—a 42-game improvement from 2006-2007 and the best single-season turnaround in NBA history. On KG’s part, he would emerge as the top vote-getter for the 2008 NBA All-Star Game (but would be unable to participate due to an abdominal strain injury), become the 32nd player in NBA history to eclipse the 20,000 point plateau (March 8, 2008), be selected to the 2007-2008 All-NBA First Team (3rd overall in MVP voting) and All-Defensive First Team, and be named as the 2007-2008 NBA Defensive Player of the Year3 4. For the season, Kevin Garnett would go on to average 18.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.3 blocks over 71 games.

Despite Boston’s superior 66-win regular season, the Celtics would need to play 26 out a possible 28 games before finally capturing their 17th NBA championship against the Los Angeles Lakers. It was Garnett’s first NBA championship.

My first game at Madison Square Garden

With the club’s record at 32-6, I just happened to be in New York City (at that time) and the Boston Celtics were in town to face-off against the New York Knicks. It was January 23, 2008—my first (and only) game to date at Madison Square Garden. Below is a Kevin Garnett highlight that I was able capture with my digital camera: A right block post, re-post, turnaround rainbow jumper over Knicks center Eddy Curry.

Going into his second year with Boston (2008-2009), the Celtics would hit the ground running en route to a franchise record 19-game winning streak5 and a 27-2 start6. However, on an alley-opp play in the first half of a game against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City (February 19, 2009), Garnett injured his right knee and did not return. The All-Star forward would go on to miss the club’s next 13 contests before playing sparingly in the succeeding four games. Ultimately, Kevin Garnett would be shut down for the remainder of the season despite his desire to return in time for the NBA Playoffs. Without the injured Garnett, the Celtics quest to return to the NBA Finals and possible repeat were dashed when they were eliminated by the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Semifinals (4-3).

Prior to his third year with the club in 2009-2010, a number of sports scribes had bet against Boston returning to the NBA Finals. But the Celtics would find their rhythm early and coast to a 32-18 record before the All-Star break. Kevin Garnett was again voted as an Eastern Conference All-Star starter7 and was joined on the team by Celtics teammates Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce. In the 2010 NBA Playoffs, the Celtics played 24 out of a possible 28 games before falling to their longtime rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers, in seven games.

In 2010-2011, the Celtics would enter the 2011 NBA Playoffs as the third seed behind the Chicago Bulls and a Miami Heat team that featured three young all-stars: small forward LeBron James, shooting guard Dwyane Wade, and power forward Chris Bosh. During the 2011 NBA Playoffs, Boston would meet the retooled Heat in the second round and despite their best efforts—would fall to Miami (4-1).

On December 25, 2011, the NBA began its 66-game lockout shorted season. The Celtics would get off to a slow start and limp to the All-Star break (15-17). With the club’s poor record, Kevin Garnett was not among those selected to participate in the 2011-2012 NBA All-Star Game.8 However, when the season resumed, the Celtics would manage raise their play and bounce back to finish the season with a 24-10 record. As the fourth seed (39-27) entering the 2012 NBA Playoffs, Garnett would elevate his game (19.2 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.5 blocks over 20 games) and help Boston eliminate the Atlanta Hawks in the first round (4-2), outlast the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round (4-3), and take the Miami Heat to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals before being sent home for the second year in a row.

Prior to the 2012-2013 campaign, Ray Allen would leave Boston for Miami as a free agent—which effectively ended “The Big Three” era. However, the Celtics were able to retain the services of Kevin Garnett after he signed a three-year 34 million dollar extension (June 30, 2012). Like the season before, Boston would start slow and seemingly go on strings of wins and losses. Midway though the season, the Boston Celtics would lose their all-star point guard Rajon Rondo to a season ending ACL injury while Garnett made a return to the All-Star game when he was voted as an Eastern Conference starter—the 15th selection of his storied career.

Video: Kevin Garnett becomes the 16th player in NBA history to score 25,000 career points (February 7, 2013).

Before the end of the regular season, the scheduled April 16, 2013 Celtics home game against the Indiana Pacers was cancelled in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing. As the game would have no bearing on the final Eastern Conference standings, the NBA decided not to reschedule it which left the Celtics and Pacers with only 81 regular season games. In the 2013 NBA Playoffs, the 7th seed Boston Celtics (41-40) would be eliminated by the 2nd seed New York Knicks (54-28) in six games.

Faced with the reality of an aging roster, the Boston Celtics executed a draft day trade that saw them part with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, shooting guard Jason “JET” Terry, and power forward D.J. White for the Brooklyn Nets power forward/center Kris Humphries, small forwards Gerald Wallace and Kris Joseph, swingmen Keith Bogans and MarShon Brooks, and what would ultimately be a treasure trove of future first rounds draft picks [2014 (17th overall | swingman James Young), 2016 (3rd overall | swingman Jaylen Brown), 2018 (8th | shooting guard Collin Sexton9)].

Brooklyn Nets

In his 19th season in the league, Kevin Garnett would become part of a formative win-now core of former all-stars that included point guard Deron Williams, swingman Joe Johnson, center Brook Lopez, and Celtics’ teammate Paul Pierce. KG—now wearing jersey number 2 in honor of his good friend and former Timberwolves teammate Malik Sealy (†)—assumed a greater leadership role with this group. During the season, Garnett became the 10th player in NBA history to pull down 14,000 career rebounds (December 13, 2013) and in the process joined an exclusive group of NBA greats (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone) to record 25,000 points, 14,000 rebounds, and 5,000 for their career. In the 2014 NBA Playoffs, the Nets would be overwhelmed by the Miami Heat and lose in 5 games.

Kevin Garnett would finish the season with career low averages of 6.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.7 blocks over 54 games.

Return to the Timberwolves and Retirement

During the Nets 2014-2015 campaign, Garnett waived the no-trade clause in his contract (an hour before the NBA’s trade deadline) in order to return to the team that drafted him—the Minnesota Timberwolves.10 Kevin Garnett would officially make his return to the T-Wolves on February 25, 2015 in a home game against the Washington Wizards (5 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks in 18:38 minutes). He would go on to play four of the next five games before missing the club’s final 21 games due to injury.

Before the 2015-2016 NBA season, the Minnesota Timberwolves signed Kevin Garnett to a reported two-year 16 million dollar contract (July 11, 2015). However, Garnett would go on to only play 38 games for the life of that contract due to a nagging right knee injury. In those 38 games, KG would join Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Jason, Kidd, and Elvin Hayes as the only players to eclipse the 50,000 minute mark in their respective NBA careers11 (November 15, 2015), become the 15th player in league history to surpass 26,000 career points (December 5, 2015), and pass Karl Malone as the NBA’s all time leader in career defensive rebounds [11,453] (December 11, 2015).

Early in the first quarter, Kevin Garnett secures his 11,407th defensive rebound off a Kenneth Faried jump hook to surpasses Karl Malone as the all-time leader in defensive rebounds.

On January 23, 2016, Kevin Garnett would play his final game at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota against the visiting Memphis Grizzlies.

Personal Notes:

In his career, Kevin Garnett was also named 9 times to the NBA All-Defensive First Team (2000-2005, 2008, 2009, and 2011) and 3 times to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2006, 2007, and 2012). He was part of the US Men’s Olympic Basketball team that won the gold medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

Garnett is also a 4-time NBA rebounding champion (2004-2007) and the recipient of the 2006 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award.

KG co-starred in the 2019 Adam Sandler film, “Uncut Gems,” wherein the retired basketball legend played a fictionalized version of himself during his time with the Celtics.

On May 15, 2021, Kevin Garnett and the Class of 2020 were inducted into the Hall of Fame at a ceremony held at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut. Three months later, the Boston Celtics announced that they will be retiring Garnett’s jersey number 5 in a game against the Dallas Mavericks on March 13, 2022.

Period: September 13th, 2021 - September 19th, 2021

From left to right: Jeff Lemire’s Mazebook (Cover A), The Last Book You’ll Ever Read #1 (2nd Print), and The Last Book You’ll Ever Read #2 (Cover A)

1) Mazebook #1 (Jeff Lemire Regular | Cover A) - I heard that some of the original art will interlock just like the maze books I had when I was younger. I’m really looking forward to this Jeff!

2) The Last Book You’ll Ever Read #1 (Leila Leiz Regular | Cover E | 2nd Printing) - I’ve already seen the 3rd printing so I’ll just come out and say it: Dominant red and black cover [1st printing], dominant white and red cover [2nd printing], and dominant black and red [3rd printing]…that what you call, MAXIMIZING a cover!

3) The Last Book You’ll Ever Read #2 (Leila Leiz Regular | Cover A | 1st Printing) - Prepare for a color change if this goes into future printings.

Period: September 15th, 2021

Fight Club (1997 | Random House Australia Paperback edition…but with the 2011 Kindle edition cover?)

Do you remember my drawing and writing experiment last July? Well, I had always wanted to do it using a paperback edition of Fight Club or (to a lesser extent) High Fidelity.

After months of searching, I was finally able to source out a pre-loved copy of Fight Club but when I looked online to get more information on this particular paperback edition—I couldn’t find any! At least, not in a paperback format.

The closest I got to it was for the 2011 Kindle Edition!

What!

Now I’m torn whether to use this book for the experiment or just find another copy?

Now, this isn’t exactly Conspiracy Theory (1997) level of collecting but…it would be a shame to deface this particular hard-to-find copy…

Funko POP! Television: South Park - Mysterion and Mint-Berry Crunch [2017 Summer Convention Exclusive] (September 7th, 2021)

Before playing South Park: Phone Destroyer™ on my mobile phone back in 2019, I’ve always resisted getting into South Park for one reason or another. But when the opportunity to immerse myself into the game and by extension—South Park lore—presented itself12…it was just too good to pass up.

Playing with a Superhero/Mystical deck for the better part of three years (has it already been that long?) brought the natural tendency to want physical representations of these characters.

Enter these Funko POP! figures.

Released in 2017, these two are some of the harder figures to find and I lucked out.

Now all I need is The Coon…

Released in 2017, Mysterion (04) is part of Series 1 while Mint-Berry Crunch (06) was released later on as a 2017 San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive.

Funko! Mystery Minis: Suicide Squad [2021] Part V (September 11th, 2021)

Picking up Blackguard (1/24) took even longer that his actual screen time. All that I need now to complete this set is the elusive 1/72 Harley Quinn (in a red dress).

Funko! Mystery Minis: Suicide Squad [2016] (September 13th, 2021)

Initially, I was only after Rick Flag and Captain Boomerang from this line as Funko did not re-release them for the new Suicide Squad [2021] movie.

Fortunately, I found an online seller who was willing to part with them at a really good price.

From left to right: Deadshot (Unmasked), Katana, Deadshot (Masked), Harley Quinn (Dress), Enchantress, Rick Flag (Partially Hidden), Captain Boomerang, and Killer Croc.

Well, that’s all for this week. Remember to subscribe to the Comics and Collectibles tab for future updates starting №37. ■


About

Tedi Gustilo Villasor, Ph.D. is a former columnist for Baby Magazine (Philippines) as well as a past contributor to NBA.com/Philippines. His other works include the indie comic books Lindol and OBIsessions.

Click here for more information on his work as a psychologist.

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1

Unless something exciting comes up that necessitates an additional entry.

2

On January 26, 2006, the Minnesota Timberwolves originally traded this future first-round draft pick to the Boston Celtics along with small forward Wally Szczerbiak, center Michael Olowokandi, and power forward Dwayne Jones for shooting guard Ricky Davis, point guard Marcus Banks, center Mark Blount, swingman Justin Reed, and two second-round draft picks. In the trade for Garnett, Minnesota reacquired the aforementioned pick which they used to select point guard Jonny Flynn (5th overall).

3

By winning the NBA Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) award, Kevin Garnett joined a very exclusive list of players who have won both the MVP and DPOY in their respective careers. The other players are Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Jordan (1988), Olajuwon (1994), and Antetokounmpo (2020) would win both awards in the same season.

4

Since the Boston Celtics inception in 1946, the team has never had any of its players win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) award until Kevin Garnett.

5

Eclipsing the 18-game winning streak of the 1981-1982 Boston Celtics that ran from February 24, 1982 to March 28, 1982.

6

Passing the 1966-1967 Philadelphia 76ers for the best two-loss start in NBA history.

7

The 13th All-Star nod in his career.

8

It was the first time in 11 years that Kevin Garnett was not voted in or selected by the head coaches to play in the NBA’s midseason classic.

9

This 2018 Brooklyn Nets pick was included in an August 30, 2017 trade between the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers. Boston would acquire all-star point guard Kyrie Irving for all-star point guard Isaiah Thomas, small forward/power forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Žižić, the aforementioned 2018 Nets pick, and the Miami Heat’s 2020 second-round pick (as compensation for Isaiah Thomas’ failed physical).

10

Kevin Garnett was traded for the Timberwolves power forward Thaddeus Young.

11

As of September 19, 2021, Dirk Nowitzki and LeBron James have joined this exclusive list. Here is a list of all seven players and where they rank on the NBA’s all-time career minutes list: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (57,446), Karl Malone (54,852), Dirk Nowitzki (51,368), Kevin Garnett (50,418), Jason Kidd (50,111), LeBron James [active] (50,055), and Elvin Hayes (50,000).

12

Around the time I started in 2019, the South Park: Phone Destroyer™ mobile game expanded their themes to include Superheroes. They got me at Superheroes!

13

Again, only if something of interest comes up which would require an additional post.