Ever since reading the CelticsBlog thread that Norsktroll linked to in one of the posts yesterday and reading basically all of the Celtics fans call everyone who questions KG's behavior a sniveling whiner, I've been trying to grasp what bothered me so much about the barking incident. For the most part, I have no issue with KG being fired up, talking trash, etc., but the Bayless incident is just such a different beast from that, and then it hit me as to the huge double standard being applied to KG right now in terms of the "taunting" technical call and the parallels of what's going on with him right now and what happened to Sheed around the turn of century.
First off, I might be one of the few Blazer fans that doesn't really harbor that much ill will towards Sheed. I think he was caught in such quagmire of delinquents and worse and he just wasn't mature enough to rise above it all. Sheed's off court transgressions never really stuck me as quite as reprehensible as Ruben, J.R., or Zach's, but regardless about how you feel about Sheed's on the court antics, he always struck as a guy who wanted to win at all costs, would take on any necessary challenges (the series against the L*kers where he stepped up and guarded Shaq at his most dominant jumps out), and was extremely emotional on the court. Yeah, he eventually wore out his welcome and burned too many bridges here, but once he got a fresh start when he was a little more mature, he promptly keyed the best defense in the league and led his new team to a title behind its withering defense.
I look at Sheed and KG's similarities (both bigs a little more comfortable away from the block, superb defensively, never really "closers", both super emotional on the court, both firmly entrenched as elite PFs entering the league in the mid-90's that aren't quite Tim Duncan), and I see almost the same player, and yet one guy routinely led the league in technicals, and the other is lionized as a "true competitor" with fire for the game. Back in the day, I remember Sheed getting T-ed up for such innocuous things as staring at officials after a call. Not necessarily a great reaction, but certainly no worse than anything Duncan or Pau Gasol do after every call against them. Because it was Sheed, though, he'd get a tech for even glancing at an official. Even the past couple years he's still picked up technicals at a higher rate, although obviously nowhere near his record setting year with the blazers.
Keep in mind, too, that this was before David Stern tightened the rules for taunting, specifically that players couldn't direct taunts at specific players. This resulted in such absurdities as Dikembe Mutombo still being allowed to do the finger wag after a block, but getting a technical if he actually wagged the finger in the direction of the guy whose shot he just swatted. I remember this being something that Stern wanted to do to make the game more accessible to fans and prevent altercations. We already saw the affects of this rule this year with Ron Artest getting a tech because officials thought he was somehow "taunting" when he was trying to break up an altercation.
My point is, that if KG getting on all fours and barking at Jerryd doesn't fall into the same category as Dikembe doing the finger wag at someone, I don't know what does. But for the same reason that Sheed got no leeway with showing any emotion in his years with us, KG gets tons of leeway there because he's "just so passionate about winning" and that's what irritates me about the situation and what irritates me about seeing people being called whiners for calling KG out on it. Those guys never had to live with rooting for Sheed and seeing that level of emotion repeatedly punished.
I know KG has never compared the NBA to the WWF or given one of Sheed's patented press conference performances, but ideally, that shouldn't affect how refs are calling the games and yet it does. To sum up, the whole thing just rubs me the wrong way. Sorry, wish I had a better conclusion, but it does seem to me pretty striking how similar those two guys are, and yet how completely differently they're perceived around the league.
Primo Sheed moves here, though. Almost makes me miss those days.