A Letter to A Bulls Center

Dear Mr. Noah,

For a man who looks like he’s in desperate need of a girlfriend, if only so that someone can finally teach you how to manage your facial hair, are you in any sort of position to call another player “ugly?” Isn’t that like a pot calling a kettle… a pot?

I watched your bit on ESPN 1000 on Wednesday, and I have two words for you: grow up.

Are you serious, dude? Are you really going to sit there and call Kevin Garnett names like an 8-year-old? KG’s mean. KG just picks on the rookies and “the Euros.” KG’s not getting a Christmas card. Did KG also steal your lunch money or kick over your Lego castle? While you’re at it, why don’t you not invite him to your birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese’s or ban him from your tree-house?

You know why Garnett talks trash? Because it works. It gets players thinking about how much Garnett talks trash instead of thinking about important things, like where to stand to contest the rebound, or whether Garnett is going to post up or go for the 20-footer. You know why Garnett picks on young players? Because they’re not mature enough to take trash-talking in stride. You’re living proof of all this. You’re not playing the Celtics again for almost a month, yet this weighs so heavily on you that all you need is an opening, and then the anti-Garnett floodgates open.

Kevin Garnett was your role model as a kid. Terrific. Truth is, you loved him for his talent. You didn’t know anything about his trash-talking, and that’s because until the birth of Twitter, what was said on the court stayed on the court. Kevin Garnett allegedly called Charlie Villanueva a “cancer patient,” and every ex-NBA athlete came down on Villanueva for Tweeting on-court stuff. Even the greatest players ever said horrible, horrible things on the court. But the rule is: don’t share.

You don’t think he’s a role model anymore? You admitted that you talk trash. Isn’t that because your idol, Kevin Garnett, does it? Or do you do it because, like everyone who plays basketball, you learned at a young age that trash-talking is an inextricable part of basketball culture, from the schoolyard to the NBA? Either way, you can only say that KG is worse that others, not that what KG does is inherently objectionable.

You’re not a little boy anymore, Noah, nor are you at Florida. It’s time you realized: athletes are not now, nor have they ever been, role models. Brett Favre is a pervert. Tiger Woods is a sex-addict. Michael Vick murders dogs. Even Marvin Harrison allegedly shot a gang-banger in North Philadelphia two years ago, then (again allegedly) had his cousin finish the job.

And it’s not a current thing either. Micky Mantle was an alcoholic. Ted Williams was a jerk to fans. Ty Cobb had more hate in his blood than hemoglobin. Worshiping an athlete just sets you up to be disappointed. Kevin Garnett was no different then than he is now, you just idolized him because all you could see was his talent. Now you see the whole package, and you don’t like it? Tough tamales. It’s your own fault for having an unfair expectation. Once you step on the court, you’re not a fan anymore, you’re an opponent.

This is the pros, dude; if you have a means to (legally) throw your opponent off his game, you use it. Sometimes that means playing extra physically (as the Celtics did against the Magic in last year’s playoffs). Sometimes that means switching a defensive match-up to force an unreliable shooter to take the shot. And sometimes that means trash talking. KG wins the player-voted trash-talker of the year award every time, and usually by 90+ percent. If KG can get you to fly off the handle, throw an elbow and get a technical (which the refs today hand out like condoms at a university health center), he’s done his hob. He talks trash. Get over it. Or, if you really want to shut him up, get above it.

The bottom line is, you’re a 25-year-old making just over $3.1 million. Garnett is 9 years older, and he makes six times as much. He’s going to the Hall of Fame, and the fact that he talks trash isn’t going to cost him a single vote in his induction. You don’t like it? You don’t like him? I don’t think he cares. So stop being a whiny little bitch, grow a pair of testicles, and just shut the hell up.


Matt Goisman, Goose’s Gabs

p.s. I’ll say this again, because it bares repeating: get a freaking haircut! You look like a sleazy Orlando Bloom from “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

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