May 20th, 2004
I don’t think that there’s any argument about what the greatest KG Moment is for Timberwolves fans. In the vast history of this franchise, filled with disappointments and heartbreaks, this moment shines as one of the few where the Timberwolves nation experienced pure euphoria.
[ad2] It was Game 7 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals – Timberwolves vs. Kings. One game prior, ex-Wolf Anthony Peeler took a swing at Garnett’s chin with his elbow. In a heated moment, Kevin showed the ultimate poise, refusing to retaliate and earn a suspension that would devastate his team’s chances of advancing. Instead of praising Garnett for his self-control, the media uleashed a vicious assault on the league’s MVP, calling him soft and questioning his manhood. They hurled insults, berating his lack of post-season success and game-winning performances. It seemed that no matter what accomplishments Kevin Garnett achieved, he would never earn the respect of the media and the general public. For some reason, Garnett’s flawless work ethic, loyalty, respect for the game, and selflessness stood as a measure that they couldn’t live up to. And so instead of embracing a man who stood for all that’s good in sports, they decided to tear him down at every chance they got.
As Game 7 approached, it was clear that Garnett had reached his moment of destiny. If his Timberwolves lost, they would never let him forget it. The Ticket would go to his grave with the title of “choker”. A win would establish him as the game’s most dominant force and silence the masses as he led his franchise to uncharted grounds.
32 points, 21 rebounds, 5 blocks, 4 steals, and 2 assists later, Kevin Garnett had rendered his critics mute once and for all. In the biggest game of his life, Kevin Garnett put on his biggest performance. In a post-season that, until that point, had been defined by Garnett deferring to Sam Cassell during game-deciding moments, The Big Ticket simply dominated. As he lept up onto the scorer’s table, waving his towel and reveling in the praise of his people, he took us all to a higher place.
I’ll never forget that night as long as I live. It may have only been the second round of the playoffs, but for Timberwolves fans everywhere, a championship couldn’t have tasted any sweeter.
Since then, the Wolves have faltered. The future, both of the team and Garnett, remains a giant question mark. As I look back on that fateful night in May, I can’t help but wonder if that moment will be as good as it gets for us.
But if it is… Man, that moment was good.