Greatest Kevin Garnett postgame interview ever?
|03.14.13 at 12:09 am ET|
After passing Jerry West for 15th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list and watching Paul Pierce eschew Charles Barkley in 20th, Kevin Garnett offered a rare glimpse inside the personal relationship of the latest Celtics greats.
“Paul and I have history, and it’s only right that we come in here and we make history together,” said Garnett. “At 13, 14, we were tearing up his mom’s living room, breaking vases, almost getting our asses whooped. I was with Paul the first time I ever experienced Crenshaw on a Sunday. For y’all who don’t know about Crenshaw on a Sunday, Crenshaw on a Sunday is a big deal. He was taking me out, and we were being 15, 16 years old.”
It might sound like something out of a sitcom, but the soliloquy Garnett delivered after the C’s 112-88 destruction of the Raptors was nothing but pure, honest truth. When Garnett joined Pierce’s AAU team in high school, he stayed with the Celtics captain and his mother in Inglewood, Calif. The rest is literally history.
“Being able to follow our dream at McDonald’s, having some duration together, trying to go to the same school, obviously going different paths, and then finally meeting up here in Boston, winning the championship, doing the things we’ve been doing since we’ve been here — 20,000 points, now we’re surpassing people that we grew up mimicking and obviously idolizing — it’s special,” added Garnett. “It’s special to do with a personal friend. You know what I mean? Not just a teammate, but a real friend. Someone who knows you, knows your family, knows who you are, where you come from and vice versa. Knows the things that motivate you and push you.
“I always tell people that I’ve got the greatest seat in the house to watch one of the best players in NBA history put the ball in the basket every night, and it’s special to be able to do it with him.”
Let’s just say the feeling is mutual.
“Kevin could accomplish anything that he wanted to do, because he has that will, that determination,” said Pierce. “For him to be where he is at, it’s pretty remarkable, because he’s more than just scoring. He’s at the top in so many other categories that it’s just unbelievable. He’s a once-in-a-generation type of player. Not a lot of people get a chance to play with those type of players, and I’m fortunate that I’ve been able to play with him these last five, six years. It’s been an honor to watch him each and every day, how he prepares, how he comes to work every day, his approach is something we can all learn from.”
Pierce scored 15 points on Wednesday night to bring his total over 14-plus seasons to 23,763 points, all in a Celtics uniform. He now trails Allen Iverson in 19th on the career scoring list by 605 points. Meanwhile, Garnett’s 25,201 points in 17-plus seasons leave him just 78 points behind Reggie Miller for 14th. Of course, Garnett also recently passed Wes Unseld for 10th on the all-time rebounding list. With 13,802 career boards, Garnett trails Walt Bellamy in ninth by 439. KG joins Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elvin Hayes, Moses Malone, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon and Shaquille O’Neal as the only players in the top 15 of both lists.
“I’m flattered, to be honest,” said Garnett. “When they told me that I passed Wes Unseld on the rebounding, I was at a loss for words. You guys have no idea what I was like as a kid. I didn’t have all the magazines, but for some reason I had all the pictures that were in the magazines. I don’t know how I was able to acquire that, but that’s another story. I just fantasized, mimicked, appreciated — all the things that a young kid does when he’s creating heroes, when he’s creating stories in his head. Anything to generate any type of motivation, and I guess at times to generate a distraction. I used it for inspiration, getting through a hard day.
“So, when you guys are telling me that I’m surpassing these people that I used for these different reasons, it’s another form of feeling, it’s another form of emotion. I know someday I’ll probably sit back and actually think about it, and it will probably mean something, but the one word I just keep thinking about: I’m just flattered, because without those people, those players who have created our history, made our league what it is for young guys or younger guys like myself, to follow in their path, there wouldn’t be no Kevin Garnetts, there wouldn’t be any other yesteryear, so I’m flattered more than honored.”
By early April, Garnett will pass John Stockton and Wilt Chamberlain for fifth in career minutes and jump Moses Malone for 10th in career games. Meanwhile, Pierce will leapfrog Iverson for 10th in career free throws and eclipse Parish for second in games played in a Celtics uniform behind only John Havlicek.
“We were just making a joke: Every two days, we’re making history,” said KG, “so it’s not a bad joke to be a part of.”
The Celtics announce each milestone over the Garden speakers, the fans rise to their feet in applause and the two aging C’s stars salute the Boston faithful. It’s a constant reminder of both their longevity in and impact on the game of basketball. Each time, the Celtics ownership must breathe a sigh of relief that they didn’t deal either of them at the trade deadline. After all, without Pierce and Garnett, there would be no moments like the two Boston experienced on Wednesday night, no season to root for and no Kevin Garnett postgame interviews.
“My path has not been an easy one,” finished Garnett. “I feel like I’ve earned everything that I’ve actually achieved. I haven’t taken shortcuts. I’m a very different disciplined person. I’m human. I hurt, I ache, I break like any other person out here, but my drive is uncanny. I’ve always been easily motivated off the [expletive], off the naysayers, and I probably will always be who I am, so I’m not trying to be anybody else other than who I am.”
Not Wes Unseld. Not Jerry West. But Kevin Garnett. A true original. Like Paul Pierce beside him. But don’t expect the NBA to replace West’s silhouette with Garnett’s head smashing a stanchion or Pierce fading from the elbow.
“I love Jerry West,” said Garnett. “I think he’s a perfect logo. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.”
One day, we will have heard the last of Garnett in the NBA. Let’s just hope it’s not this season.
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