Thursday, February 25, 2021


Kevin Garnett explains why you never, ever, talk trash to an individual who finds motivation through competition:

Every NBA fan knows former Timberwolves star Kevin Garnett was a legendary trash-talker. However, there was a time when that trash talk came back to burn him. Appearing on Wednesday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! Garnett revealed that when he was 19 years old, his teammate J.R. Rider got off to a hot start during a game against the Bulls and that got Garnett chirping at Michael Jordan. Garnett says he’s paid for it ever since.

“I was playing great, probably the best I ever played in my life at this point, and it’s against the Bulls and J.R. Rider is having an unbelievable game, too, and I’m feeling 19,” Garnett explained to Kimmel. “I’m like, ‘Yeah, keep going, you’re killing him. Woo!’ In the short form of it, I woke up a sleeping dog. … It just turned bad, Jimmy, it turned really bad. And it turned bad quick.”

Even Rider knew it wasn’t smart to push Jordan’s buttons.

“J.R. told me to calm down,” said Garnett. “He was like, ‘Yeah, we’re having a good game, but chill. He can hear you.’ I was like, ‘Who cares? Keep going!’”

Not only did Jordan then torch the Timberwolves, he continues to let Garnett know about it.

“Whenever I see Jordan he does the same thing every time,” said Garnett. “He palms my head and he says, ‘Remember the game I gave you 40 in three quarters?’ And then he has this sidekick ... around him and he’s like, ‘Pull that [video] up.’ And then a guy goes and pulls it up!

I’m like, ‘What is this?’ This is really Jordan Brand. Who walks around with content? Like, tee it up. It was an experience in which I quit talking trash to Michael.”

Michael Jordan is such a psychotic competitor. It's truly inspiring. He takes the art of dead horse beating to previously unimagined heights.

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Blogger Canadian Warlord February 25, 2021 2:00 PM  

Hockey has some great examples, including team USA using a canadian flag to walk on with their skates (womens' olympics?). My favorite recent one was the World Cup. Players from countries like Slovenia, Denmark, Poland etc. (not the big 7 hockey powers) got a squad called "Team EU." USA Today referred to them as "Team Eurotrash." Well, this squad of players who grew up in different countries and never played with each other, handed the US team their asses. And that wasn't even athletes trash-talking, it was just the dumb media!

Blogger MagisterLudi February 25, 2021 2:01 PM  

Cue the "And I took that personally" meme

Blogger basementhomebrewer February 25, 2021 2:06 PM  

I have a bit of this streak in me. In middle school and highschool when I was playing sports a ref would make a clearly bad call or the opposing team would start doing something disrespectful and it would get my blood up and make me play significantly better. I never learned to turn that ability on purposely. It always required someone doing something to get me mad and it wasn't something that a teammate could do artificially to me.

Blogger Nostromo February 25, 2021 2:09 PM  

Everybody says "Don't beat a dead horse." My response is always "Why not?" If it makes you feel better. Sure as hell the horse don't feel it.

Blogger RobertDWood February 25, 2021 2:11 PM  

Was this all for a regular season game??

Blogger Kraemer February 25, 2021 2:14 PM  

Very true. It's difficult to not discuss the intra-team rankings after morning practice, at least on the mens team. Idk if women do the same thing.
Question: to what extent does the fastest on the team get bragging rights, in terms of practicing the virtue of humility?

Blogger Unknown February 25, 2021 2:15 PM  

One of the stories on local media this morning was the request to delete the white outline of a person on the NBA logo and replace it with Kobe's likeness.

The stated reason is that the league was raised up by, and is made up of, black kings.

Blogger Manuel February 25, 2021 2:15 PM  

Take everything personally and keep reminding them about it.

Blogger Mako February 25, 2021 2:20 PM  

Great story! Thanks for posting it here because I'm unlikely to watch Jimmy Kimmel.

Blogger Unknown February 25, 2021 2:22 PM  

Vox do you think the western conference finals of '02 Kings vs. Lakers was rigged? Game 7 or otherwise? One of the referees wrote a book claiming it was.

Blogger Derangement Syndrome February 25, 2021 2:26 PM  

Growing up in Chicagoland during the 1990's with Jordan and the Bulls was something special.

Think about this, they used to televise the playoff's post-game press conferences on NBC with during the Jordan era; nobody would watch if they tried that now.

Blogger FALPhil February 25, 2021 2:35 PM  

Most people talk way too much anyway. And they rarely have anything interesting to say.

Blogger M In The 517 February 25, 2021 2:37 PM  

Heh, the days of Dennis Rodman with the Bulls.

And Tony Toni Toné Kukoc. (tm Craig Kilborn)

Yeah, I watched way the f too much SportsCenter in the 90s. Bite me.

Blogger CF Neal February 25, 2021 2:39 PM  

NBA trash-talking started when?

When I realized pick-up games had become debating matches ended my play.

Dr J rules!

Blogger Silly but True February 25, 2021 2:39 PM  

There’s multiple angles here. The first is obvious: don’t trash talk Michael Jordan.

But Garnett is also speaking of playing in his 1995-1996 season — his rookiee year in NBA. Also, no matter how hot shit a fifth overall pick thinks he is, he needs to remember that you don’t trash talk Michael Jordan.

But also, the 1995-1996 Bulls, beginning after Kevin Garnett’s 1995 draft into NBA is quantitatively and qualitatively and inarguably the best NBA team in the history of basketball, and perhaps no less arguably the greatest sports team in the history of sports teams. Led by Michael Jordan — whom you don’t trash talk — at the peak of his game.

The Bulls that Garnett played as a rookie set a 72-10 record that stood until Warriors finally won 73 in 2015-2016 season (although they’re still no 95-96 Bulls).

Garnett learned a great lesson, and it only cost him being Jordan’s perpetual chump for all eternity. Garnett’s going to get to the pearly gates and St. Michael is going to have Jordan’s handler call up the vid.

Garnett’s game, and Garnett specifically, might even be the cause for that record and that great year.

Blogger M In The 517 February 25, 2021 3:14 PM  

Team EU did have some pretty good players, like Anze Kopitar, Zdeno Chara, the truly underrated Marian Hossa, and others.

Blogger John Williams February 25, 2021 3:22 PM  

Saw the Michael Jordan on Netflix (before I canned it). “And I took that personally” is a motivational meme for MJ.
MJ will find something to take personally if not given one, but my God, don’t give him one.

Blogger Grey Man February 25, 2021 3:33 PM  

"...including team USA using a canadian flag to walk on with their skates (womens' olympics?)."

This was a lie said by Hayley Wickenheiser. It never happened.

Blogger Dex Mick Bear February 25, 2021 3:42 PM  

Vox and MJ have the same personality type (ISTP)...

Blogger MarkyMark February 25, 2021 3:51 PM  

Who can forget MJ's epic playoff game when he had a serious case of the flu? IIRC, he was practically CARRIED OFF at the end! That was the 1997 Finals, Game 5 against the Jazz. He scored 38 points that night...

Blogger Doktor Jeep February 25, 2021 3:56 PM  

The downside to this story is that gammas see it, think they can be Michael Jordan. But having more feminine spite and aversion to pain than actual masculine motivation, try to achieve their goals with backbiting, lies, grandstanding, crying out as they strike, gossip, and other things that getting punched in the face used to cure when it was legal.
Beating dead horses is a privilege, not a right.

Blogger DroppingBear February 25, 2021 4:02 PM  

You know you're the real MVP when your entourage has a highlight reel of you to pull up for any given situation.

Blogger Richard Rahl February 25, 2021 4:12 PM  

I miss watching Jordan. I was a die hard Bulls fan in Minnesota in the Jordan Era.
I'll always remember The Flu game as one of the most insane levels of competitiveness I've even seen.

Blogger Nemesis The Warlock February 25, 2021 5:32 PM  

This reminds me of my favourite ring fighter, a Belarusian named Alexey Ignashov. He knew that there was no-one he couldn't defeat but he usually just couldn't be bothered, unless they annoyed him. I used to love watching that barely perceptible arrogant smirk appear on his face when his opponent would insult or disrespect him because it meant you were about to see something special.

Blogger Daniel February 25, 2021 6:42 PM  

What is crazy is that I can think of at least three and arguably five better pure ball players (either more talent or more skill) than Jordan who played against him during his peak years.

And he smoked them all, every time he played them. No one knew how to use contempt like Jordan did.

Blogger NegrosBear February 25, 2021 6:43 PM  

110% MJ's favorite movie is Whiplash.

Blogger Silly but True February 25, 2021 7:19 PM  

1992 playoff game 1 is also a great example of why you don’t shine Jordan on. These skills aren’t just something you can just choose to turn on. Jordan always had it because he always practiced it.

Blogger Teleport me off this rock February 25, 2021 7:29 PM  

The most amazing thing about this story is that J.R. Rider was the voice of reason.

Blogger Ozymandius February 25, 2021 8:35 PM  

Bart: I better go check out this Mongo character.

Jim: Oh no, don't do that.

Bart: Why not?

Jim: If you shoot him, you'll just make him mad.

Blogger "William Berke" February 25, 2021 8:36 PM  

You make me laugh #4, thank you, good to know you are an exception to everybody.

Blogger OvergrownHobbit February 25, 2021 8:55 PM  

Mr. Gresham called it "resurreqiflogging" in which one beats the horse to death, then brings it back to life just to beat it some more.

Blogger RobertDWood February 25, 2021 9:12 PM  

Oh buddy, don't feed the gammas

Blogger Stephen February 25, 2021 9:55 PM  

What is crazy is that I can think of at least three and arguably five better pure ball players (either more talent or more skill) than Jordan who played against him during his peak years.

And he smoked them all, every time he played them. No one knew how to use contempt like Jordan did.

Good Lord. Where to begin parsing this?
#1 Jordan's playoff record vs Bird's Celtics was 0-6.
#2 Oh, never mind.

Blogger John Rockwell February 25, 2021 10:08 PM  

Actually if you want a challenge. Talking trash to a person who revels in competition jazzes up the Game.

And have fun while doing it. If you lose. You still had fun.

Blogger HighIQQQ February 25, 2021 10:33 PM  

I wrote a book in 2012 about a politician called "deplorable" and "racially divisive" while a new disease ravaged the globe. It also mentions racial IQ differences. I can prove all of this, including the year it was written. I'm looking for someone to publish it, to voice the audiobook and to help market it. I figured you'd be interested. Can we help each other out here?

Paul Oglebay

Blogger Raker_T February 25, 2021 10:56 PM  

"It always required someone doing something to get me mad"
Right now it's reliably one sentence that does it with ease:
"The election is over, we need to be united for the good of the country"

Blogger Argus Bacchus February 26, 2021 12:18 AM  

@28 Crunchy Cachalot

Superbowl of NBA J.R. bike thieves: Rider vs. Smith

Blogger Harambe February 26, 2021 5:19 AM  

Unknown wrote:One of the stories on local media this morning was the request to delete the white outline of a person on the NBA logo and replace it with Kobe's likeness.

The stated reason is that the league was raised up by, and is made up of, black kings.

They are just salty because the best NBA player of all time (Larry Bird) and the best rapper of all time (Eminem) are both white.

Blogger Trumpeter February 26, 2021 6:59 AM  

Well, getting a free pass on hand checking your opponent, while the same is always called on anyone handchecking you, is a good way to look like a hero.
A free third step without being called for traveling helps lots also.

This is not to say that MJ is any less of an athlete. The NBA was floundering when Magic and Larry saved it. The NBA recognized the power of a hero and will do whatever it takes to make one, if one isn't readily available.

Blogger Bigger Bunyip February 26, 2021 7:58 AM  

Yes, BUT, unless you saw Jordan in his prime live at the game, not only on TV, you won't know how good he was. He not only had a killer instinct, but he was physically the most gifted player, and the most intelligent competitive player. 6'6" could run a 4.2 sec 40 yards, could block the shot of a 7.2 280lb center any time he wanted (google Jordan blocks Ewing). Jordan compared to a good NBA starter is a good NBA player compared to a college scrub. He simply couldn't keep it up every night. 130 games per year (pre-season, season, play-offs) is too much. If he went from his B game to his A game opponents were powerless, but he needed to keep coming up with the motivation to do it.

Taking offense and trying harder, and holding a grudge only matter if you are better than your opponents, which he was. I'm pretty sure he held grudges and tried super hard at baseball when he stepped away from the game, but he still couldn't hit a curveball at the AA level, he looked awkward on the field and his flunkies aren't pulling out that footage...

Blogger Jeremy V February 26, 2021 9:27 AM  

It could’ve been one of so many others but yep-that’s a bear you just don’t poke.

Blogger flyingtiger February 26, 2021 10:15 AM  

Yawn. I hear the same stories about Gordie Howe and Maurice Richard. While MJ was a great basketball player, off the court he was disgusting. His compulsive gambling almost destroyed the NBA. He was a black supremacist, and would mock whites. The local media supported him on this. The Bulls championships were meant as proof that all blacks are superior to all whites.
I am in favor of replacing the white guy on the NBA symbol. It is another way of telling whites to stay away.

Blogger Daniel February 26, 2021 10:47 AM  

Stephen, begin parsing at the word "peak". Your argument is invalid.

Blogger lord enlil February 26, 2021 7:18 PM  

There's no I in team, but there is in win.

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