A bittersweet comeback, at best. For 12 years, Kevin Garnett was the one and only thing this team could always count on...a sad, ironic testament to why he ultimately had to leave. No matter who else walked in or out of the Target Center locker room, no matter how bad the team was or how cold the winters were, we could at least say, at the end of the day, our team has Kevin Garnett on it.
And then one day, it just....didn't....
Granted, KG has said some harsh...though not untrue....things about the Timberwolves since leaving, culminating last year in a pretty definitive "I don't have anything positive to say" about the Wolves.
The interesting thing, of course, is that KG has always been very clear that he does not consider 'Timberwolves the organization' the same as 'Timberwolves the team'. Those who manage are not the same as those who play and cheer. There's a hard line between the two that can't be crossed. Just as we saw KG as being on our side, he saw us as being on his side. Which means in his mind, we were victims of the team's terrible management just as much as he was. And he's not really wrong about that.
So when he came back on February 8, 2008, stepping onto the Target Center court for the first time as something other than a Timberwolf, it was that one last time for all of us to be on the same team. And then when he stepped off it, it was really the end. It was closure. It was undeniable, live and in person proof that us and KG were no longer in the same boat; that we had officially gone our separate ways.
Garnett is a loyal guy. There's a reason he never said anything about 'Timberwolves the organization' until after he left. And he's said many times he'll always be 'Sota at heart. I was happy to see him win his championship, even if it was tough to watch it happen with a different team. There was finally payoff for him and the decade he spent holding our team together when seemingly everything else was trying to tear it apart. And even though time and temper has cooled the love affair, I will always consider KG to be a Timberwolf first.