Kevin Garnett downplays ‘last All-Star Game’ comment
|02.15.13 at 3:22 pm ET|
For the first time since he declared this weekend’s NBA All-Star Game would be his last, Celtics star Kevin Garnett addressed the comments during his Media Day session (available via the NBA’s live stream here).
“I took the question as if somebody was asking me about next year,” said Garnett prior to his 15th All-Star Game appearance, “and I had no insight into saying that I was going to be a definite All-Star, so it came out like I’m saying, ‘This is my last,’ but I’m not an egotistical guy or none of that, and I wasn’t going to just say, ‘Yeah, I’m going to be an All-Star, so I’m going to be here next year.’ To be honest, I’m more than grateful to be here. I’m obviously honored and humbled to be here with this great class of guys, and I wasn’t going to make a comment that I felt like was out of hand — to say that next year I would be here, because next year no one knows. That’s where those contents came from.”
He was asked again.
“Every year you make this, it’s not something that you take for granted,” he said. “That’s all I’m saying. Some guys go a whole career and never get a chance to obviously experience an All-Star event, and I’m more than grateful. You know what I’m saying? I wasn’t going to be in a position to where I was speaking on next year and my production next year and what it is. I have no idea, so that’s where those contents mainly came from.”
“I try to actually focus on this year and what we’re going through vs. thinking about things that aren’t even here yet nor do I have to entertain. Each year, I always assess myself, and as long as I’m always able to give something to a team and be productive and hold up to standards that I’m comfortable with, then and only then will I think about things like that. We’re in the midst of a season, I’m two feet in, I’m totally committed and that’s what it is. We’re going through some rough times as far as personnel and losing major guys on our team, but as far as the team I think we’re playing together and decent basketball right now, and we’ve gotta be ready for the second half of the year.”
Asked after Wednesday’s win over the Bulls why he wouldn’t participate in another NBA All-Star Game after this season, Garnett said, “Y’all don’t know what I know,” setting off a firestorm of speculation about his potential retirement after this year. He was also asked about that comment during his Media Day session.
“It’s exactly what I meant,” he said. “You guys don’t know what I know.”
He was asked again.
“I should’ve never said that, right?” he said. “Again, for those who weren’t here, I made the comments on the future of being an All-Star, and I wasn’t comfortable with saying or solidifying that I was going to be an All-Star next year, so I made the comment about this year being my last, understanding that this is not given and that this whole experience obviously has been a great one. I’m not looking ahead, but obviously planting my feet in the present. That’s what the comment was. If I have to keep rebuttaling and keep explaining, then that’s fine with me.”
“I ran out of answers for that question.”
Here are a few other highlights from Garnett’s NBA All-Star Game Media Day interview.
On Celtics success sans Rajon Rondo: “We’re playing together. When you lose guys, your strength is in your numbers and each other. Not one or two guys are leading this team. I think as a committee we’re consolidating a lot of things, and it’s working. Defensively, we’re one, we’re talking and we’re playing hard. We’re playing hard as crap. Night in and night out we’re giving ourselves a chance to win every game, and that’s all you can ask.”
On relationship with Carmelo Anthony: “I’m not going to discuss that. Actually, I saw Melo a couple minutes ago, we dapped and it was good to see him here. I’m happy for not only him but Tyson Chandler and all the other guys that are here: Brook Lopez, Joakim Noah, the first-timers. That’s what this weekend is about. Nothing negative.”
On favorite All-Star Game memories: “Meeting Wilt Chamberlain in Cleveland was a huge one. Kobe [Bryant]‘s first All-Star Game in New York, we was clowning, being some young guys. ’03 in Atlanta, because it was close to home and I had a bunch of friends and fam down to see me. [Michael] Jordan‘s last All-Star Game.”
On favorite All-Star Game teammates: “Before I came to the East, it used to be Kobe.”
On LeBron James’ recent stretch: “LeBron’s playing with what comes off as an uncanny amount of confidence in himself. For the first time, it looks like he’s not playing for anybody else but himself and his team. He’s not really into the naysayers or what people say about him. He’s playing as comfortable and poised as I’ve seen him.”
On favorite Halloween costumes: D.J. Lance from “Yo Gabba Gabba,” the masked man from “Scream” and Zeus
On advice for foreign players: “Anything is possible. That’s always been my motto, so believe that.”
On his post-basketball career: “I don’t see myself being an actor.”
On something he could beat Jordan at: “Video games. I can’t see Michael Jordan as a video gamer, so bring it. FIFA ’04. Let’s do it. FIFA ’12. FIFA ’13. Any FIFA.”
On what he gave up for Lent: “I don’t celebrate Lent.”
Garnett also appeared on NBA TV. Here are those highlights (in addition to the fact he wore slippers).
“We have a team full of guys who are willing to fight, willing to compete,” said Garnett. “Doc [Rivers] is probably one of the toughest coaches to play for, but he is a great coach, and that said he pushes you to the point where you have no limit. When Rondo went down, I think obviously everybody jumped off the bandwagon, but what you have to understand is that Paul [Pierce] has led, I have led. Mix that with a group of guys who are willing to compete and play hard every night, and that gives you a chance, man. We’re playing together, we’re playing unselfish basketball, not one or two guys are fueling it.
“We’ve got some young guys. Avery Bradley‘s giving us a crazy lift this year defensively. And we play together. Obviously, JET [Jason Terry], Courtney Lee, these guys play really hard. We’re down to 8-9 guys, but we’re playing extremely hard and we’re playing together, and with that formula it’s hard to beat guys like that.”
On Jeff Green’s potential: “Jeff Green’s future is what Jeff Green wants it to be. He has the talent, he has the ability, he has the confidence. Obviously, you want to point at the word consistency, but he’s still young, and I don’t think people give him that credit. You don’t come into a real prime player until you’re a little older. He’s been through some crazy experiences dealing with his health and stuff, but the way he’s fought back with vengeance and came with a focus, man, is unbelievable. Jeff is anything you want him to be. If you want him to play point guard, I really feel like he can do that. He can guard 1-4, he’s very versatile, explosive, and we haven’t even seen the best of Jeff Green. So, I think as he gets better, he’s going to be unbelievable, and remember I said that.”
On Celtics pride: “Live green, bleed green. Be what you are; we’re Celtics. The front office has a plan, and that’s on them, but don’t let that waver on how you come out and prepare every night. That’s where I’m at with it.”
On C’s title chances: “I like our chances. I’m not going to sit up here and say that I’m ever going to bet against us. I’m not doing that, because I know what I have in there, but obviously the Eastern Conference is not a cupcake nor anything in the league is, but I’m willing to fight with these guys every night and that’s what it is.”
Finally, Garnett joined ESPN Radio for yet another NBA All-Star Game Media Day interview.
“I hope I’m not playing at 40,” he said. “I don’t know. Forty, to all you guys that are 40, excuse me before I say this, and ladies who are 40, but I don’t want to play until I’m 40. I love to hoop. … When I’m 40, I want to be in the YMCA somewhere, busting a guy like you up, talking trash to you, killing your ego. Shooting the hook shot left and right, something I never do, and enjoying it. I put my time into the game, I actually enjoy playing with the lights or without the lights, but I feel like these times in which I’m going, the game is hard, it’s very difficult to go out here and play these minutes and put in. I prepare the best way I can every night, but it’s challenging, man. It’s very challenging.”
On the possibility of being traded: “[Celtics president] Danny [Ainge], since Day 1, even when Ray [Allen] was here, the first day we got there he always told us he would do whatever he had to do to make the team better. He wouldn’t put guys above the team. That was the foundation, and we all understood that, never had a problem with it. I’ve always told him where I was, as far as being a Celtic. My expectations were not to come back to be traded. We both understand that, but this is a business, and you have to understand that. I do.
“It’s my preference, I will retire a Celtic and be buried in green and that’s where it stands. As far as the organization, where they feel they want to go, their visions for the future, I can’t speak on that. You have to ask them that. For right now, this is what it is, if it changes, I’ll have to deal with that.”
Remember, Garnett owns a no-trade clause, so nobody can stop him from retiring in a Celtics uniform.