From John Finger of CSNPhilly.com comes this nugget from Kevin Garnett:
Garnett loves the big stage and he seems to thrive in hostile environments. So to ratchet up that animosity before Game 6, Garnett stoked the flames a bit by comparing the crowd at the Garden with the Sixers’ faithful at the Wells Fargo Center.
“Not even close,” Garnett said. “[In Boston] you got fans and [in Philadelphia] you got fair-weather fans. Take that how you want.”
Take into mind that Kevin Garnett likes nothing more than proving people wrong, and then take the comments at face value.
Garnett wants people to call him old, to say he’s not great anymore, to say he’s over the hill, and whatnot. It’s what motivates him, and what makes him an all-time great. The psychotic behavior he exhibits is kind of disturbing, but it’s what makes him tick, and in a world where everyone wants to know everything about every athlete, knowing exactly what motivates Kevin Garnett is actually pretty cool to me. He thrives on insults and jeers and boos and all of that, every tiny little thing people say against him. And after these comments, I’m sure Philly fans will oblige with his request to boo him as loudly as possible at every moment he touches the ball, and they will cheer when he does something wrong.
The actual face value of the comment is probably unimportant, since Philly fans have been similar thing even by our own athletes. Most prominently, Jimmy Rollins called us “front-runners” the year after winning his MVP here.
I’m not exactly sure they are wrong, but I’m not exactly sure that’s a bad thing. Hear me out here: Philadelphia fans demand excellence. I’ve talked about the Sixers attendance before: essentially, fans will support a winning team and develop apathy for a losing one, especially one where no steps are being taken to try and make progress towards that title. When the Phillies were contenders year after year, they sold out nearly every game. When the Flyers are in contention, they sell out nearly every game. The Eagles, when even remotely close to good, sell out every game. When these teams are not competitive, they don’t support them as much. The Sixers have the most dramatic swings because they are the least cared about team, but the idea stays the same. If you win, they will come, and they will spend a lot of money and do everything they can to help the franchise.
And on a macro level, doesn’t that make sense? Our fans show approval for winners and disapproval for losers. Shouldn’t all franchises be held to that standard? Why support a failing team? Should we really be giving credit here (and I’m just throwing a fan base out there that fits the example, it’s not personal) to fans like those of the Golden State Warriors, who show up to games for a team that has made the playoffs once this millennium? Why should they be supporting a team that obviously hasn’t done anything to win? Why should incompetence be rewarded, or cheered for? To me, it shouldn’t be. Maybe that’s the businessman in me, but in Philadelphia fans show up and heavily support winners and hold all of their teams to that standard, and that’s a good thing.
Does that make us fair-weather fans? Yeah, probably. And we should be. There’s nothing wrong with supporting a winner.