The age of Garnett is noteworthy

The age of Garnett is noteworthy
May 18, 2012, 6:48 am
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Shhh. Don't bring it up to Kevin Garnett, but he turns 36 on Saturday.
Why the hush-hushness of his birthday?
Garnett is tired of hearing about his age. He doesnt let his years define him on the court, and he doesnt want others to either.
The big man is averaging 20.3 points and 11.0 rebounds per game this postseason. In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, Garnett posted 27 points and 13 rebounds, his fourth consecutive double-double and seventh of the playoffs.
He isnt surprised by his performance, and doesnt really appreciate those who doubted he was capable of it in the first place.
I take this very seriously, Garnett said last week following the Celtics' Game 6 elimination of the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs. So you guys calling me old, that number just fuels the fire. You all have no idea what you are doing when you do that. So I appreciate you all. Whoevers writing the old comments and all that, keep doing that. I appreciate that. I dont read your columns, but it gets back to me. All right?
The fact of the matter is, though, playing at such a high level at this point in his career is noteworthy. Not because it was improbable, but because such a small number of players continue to do so when they are turning 36 and in their 17th year in the NBA.
Garnett was one of 12 players born in 1976 to play in the NBA this season. Tony Battie, Chauncey Billups, Tim Duncan, Brian Skinner, Earl Boykins, Brad Miller, Antawn Jamison, Andre Miller, Eduardo Najera, Raja Bell, and Francisco Elson are the others. Garnett is younger than Battie, Elson, Andre Miller, Brad Miller, and Duncan.
Garnett was the first player born in 1976 to be drafted. He entered the NBA in 1996, the only member of his draft class born that year. As a result, he leads all players born the same year in minutes played. (His 45,779 minutes are over 6,000 more than those of Duncan.) Garnett ranks second among all active players in minutes played behind only Jason Kidd.
There are only three players older than Garnett still playing at this point in the postseason -- Juwan Howard (39), Derek Fisher (37), and teammate Ray Allen (36).
Garnett ranks 9th overall in postseason scoring (20.3ppg). He is the oldest of the top 23 scorers. Duncan, one month is senior, is ranked 24th.
See how Garnetts postseason stat line (17th season, 20.3 points, 11.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists) compares to how Hall of Fame big men performed in the playoffs at age 35:
Charles Barkley (15th season): 23.5 points, 13.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists
Karl Malone (14th season): 21.8 points, 11.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists
Kevin McHale (13th season): 19.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 0.8 assists
Hakeem Olajuwon (14th season): 20.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists
Garnett is 1-0 on his birthday. He played on his 28th birthday (May 19, 2004), Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Sacramento Kings. He celebrated the day with a 32-point, 21-rebound double-double en route to the Timberwolves 83-80 elimination victory.
Garnett shares a May 19 birthday with Dolph Schayes, Bill Laimbeer, Mario Chalmers, Richard Dumas, Butch Feher, Hamed Haddadi, Brian Skinner, and Michael Smith.