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Kevin Garnett: ‘I hear y’all calling me old’

03.29.12 at 2:11 am ET


Perhaps it was the presence of Al Jefferson, the kid who he has enjoyed trash talking ever since the Celtics swapped them for each other five years ago. Whatever the reason, Kevin Garnett assumed Yoda’s persona.

“His Jedi mind tricks worked tonight,” said Celtics guard Keyon Dooling after the Celtics tuned out the Jazz.

Wednesday night, Big Al was just another patron at the Mos Eisley Cantina, at least to the masterful Garnett, who considered Jefferson an afterthought in a mind that’s clearly had plenty weighing on it this season. Rarely do we get a glimpse into KG’s consciousness, so when we do it’s best to savor it completely. Here goes.

“I’m motivated, you know? I hear y’all calling me old. I hear y’all calling me older, weathered. It don’t take really much to motivate me, man. I’m older in basketball years, but in life I’m 30-something. I’m looking at your gray hair, no hair, half hair, beautiful hair, wet hair. I’m just motivated. I like to use that word.

“The first half wasn’t the most pleasurable for us. I thought I could be better, and I’ve been working towards that. I’ve been giving myself a true analysis in the mirror, looking at myself, telling myself, ‘What can I do better?’ And I’ve been going towards that. I know there are some things I can get better at, and I’ve been trying to do that.

“It doesn’t take much to motivate me, man. I don’t watch too many of you guys’ interviews — garbage — but the ones I do catch, it’s an opinion and it is what it is, but it puts a spark under me, and I like that. Playing against younger talent that’s supposed to be prolific and supposed to be above average, but I’m old, though, you know? Like I said, again, for the third time, it doesn’t take much to motivate me. That’s what it is. That’s what you see.”

So, Kevin, how motivated were you playing Big Al tonight?

“I wasn’t motivated. Next question.”

What caused that self-analysis?

“I think whenever you’re going through something, you have to be able to look at yourself and give yourself a true perspective and be honest with yourself. My level of expectations will always exceed everybody’s in here. Half of y’all have never touched a basketball, therefore played in the NBA, so it’s irrelevant at some point.

“I can’t ask a teammate to do something and look in himself if I’m not looking in myself. I’m every bit of the word of a true leader — not by the words that come out of my mouth, but by example. That’s just me. I’ve always been built like that. I’ve always tried to better myself on and off the basketball court, but when it comes to basketball you’ve got to put in your time, you’ve got to put in your work and not just talk that talk, but you’ve got to be able to walk it. So, you know, I’m here. I’m dealing with everything, ailments and all that. I’m here.”

For more on how Garnett’s soul searching could lead him to grow even older in a Celtics uniform, read this fantastic Paul Flannery piece on KG’s metamorphosis into a center.

Read More: Al Jefferson, Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Keyon Dooling
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