Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

It's not a good look for the NBA when Kevin Garnett can't get a stake in Timberwolves ownership

Kevin Garnett says,  “Players can never own, only rent.”
Kevin Garnett says, “Players can never own, only rent.”
Image: Getty Images

If there’s any former player who deserves an ownership stake in a franchise he helped build, it’s Kevin Garnett. But unfortunately, the Minnesota Timberwolves don’t see it that way.

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Garnett had been pursuing an ownership stake for the team he put on the map, one that hasn’t been relevant for any sustainable period since. According to his Instagram story, which is still up as of this writing, Garnett says that the process of him trying to get in the game is over. He primarily highlights that players are still limited in acquiring ownership stakes, even for teams they’ve influenced as much as KG had in Minnesota.

“Guess it’s time to focus on other places,” Garnett noted, mentioning Seattle and Las Vegas. He later added, “Players that helped build these fuxin franchises like a home but can never own them, only rent them,” as well as, “Fux them doe, your loss.”

Garnett has had long-standing issues with Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, going as far as to say he didn’t want his number retired by the organization he spent 14 seasons with.

“Glen knows where I’m at. I’m not entertaining it,” he said to The Athletic last April. “First of all, it’s not genuine. Two, he’s getting pressure from a lot of fans and, I guess, the community there. Glen and I had an understanding before [former team president] Flip [Saunders] died, and when Flip died, that understanding went with Flip. For that, I won’t forgive Glen. I won’t forgive him for that. I thought he was a straight-up person, straight-up businessman, and when Flip died, everything went with him.”

And in July, it appeared the KG was willing to let bygones be bygones and come to a resolution with Taylor, which obviously didn’t translate.

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It would also behoove a predominately Black league to, you know, have a Black owner? In the NBA, there’s only Michael Jordan, who is at least arguably the greatest athlete the sport has ever produced. It signals that the bar for Black ownership in mostly Black league means you have to be the best ever, which, never mind the optics, it doesn’t make any sense either.

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Taylor himself, like most other owners in the NBA and across pro sports, donates money predominately to the Republican party, and clumsily requested that social change advocates protest “peacefully” throughout his stat of Minnesota. It’s the same state where Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd on camera.

For NBA teams, if not a KG-like figure, then who? For Minnesota especially, if not KG, then who?

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Garnett’s first 12-year-run landed only one playoff appearance that lasted beyond the opening round, which is still the only one in their 32-year history. In total, the Timberwolves made eight consecutive playoff appearances between 1996 and 2004, and have only made the playoffs in their franchise history in one other instance: The Jimmy Butler-led 2017-18 club. Garnett was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year, and although he became a champion in Boston, he’s by far the closest thing to a champion that the Timberwolves franchise has produced. It’s not even close. Consider No. 2 on that list: Kevin Love? Karl-Anthony Towns? Consider that KG only had one All-Star point guard in Minnesota: Sam Cassell in 2003-04, Garnett’s Most Valuable Player season.

It’s embarrassing that Minnesota ownership won’t allow Garnett to have a seat at the table, but given all we know, it isn’t very surprising.