Early Wednesday Detroit Piston Charlie Villanueva made the claim in a Tweet from his Twitter.com account that Boston Celtic Kevin Garnett called him “cancer patient” during Tuesday’s Pistons-Celtics game in Detroit.
After Villanueva’s claim, Garnett responded via this statement to the media:
“I am aware there was a major miscommunication regarding something I said on the court last night.
“My comment to Charlie Villanueva was in fact ‘You are cancerous to your team and our league.’
“I would never be insensitive to the brave struggle that cancer patients endure. I have lost loved ones to this deadly disease and have a family member currently undergoing treatment.
“I would never say anything that distasteful. The game of life is far bigger than the game of basketball.”
One thing Garnett is indisputably correct about: There was a major miscommunication between him and Villanueva last night.
Also interesting to note that Garnett claims that he not only insulted Villanueva in the context of the Pistons, but also to the league.
How on earth is Villanueva “cancerous” to the league?
The fact that Garnett would allegedly say such an absurd thing - and mention it in his response to Villanueva’s allegation - makes it hard for me to completely buy into his version of events.
Not to mention Garnett’s notorious reputation for saying plenty of distasteful things.
Villanueva isn’t backing down from his earlier statement about what Garnett said, either.
Of Garnett’s statement, Villanueva told Vincent Ellis of the DETROIT FREE PRESS:
“I know EXACTLY what I heard.”
From watching, listening and reading fan and media reaction to Garnett’s statement, it’s clear that most folks - at least outside of Boston - are on Villanueva’s side on this issue.
Recognizing that, along with Garnett’s well-known, irascible on-court personality, I’m guessing the NBA will sanction Garnett in some capacity.
At the very least, expect the league to step into the fray to eliminate the back-and-forth in short order.