After a momentous day yesterday, Celtics Town gathered together to discuss Kevin Garnett’s departure. Read it with sad acoustic music in the background for the full effect.
1. When you first heard KG was coming to Boston, how successful did you think the team would be?
Trey Adell: I have a horrible memory, but I was in 5th grade and really mostly just remember being really excited as Kevin was one of my favorite players at the time. I wasn’t particularly versed in the finer details of basketball as I am now, but I understood that it meant great things were coming to Boston.
Jordan Higgs: About as successful as they were, I just had no idea what a roller coaster I’d be in for. I never expected the new Big 3 to gel so fast, and after 2008 I never could have predicted the struggles that would follow. It still feels like everything happened out of order.
Tommy King: Kevin Garnett was my favorite player in the league far before he came to Boston, so I knew what he was capable of as a player. Jay and I had just arrived at work, as lifeguards at the local pool, when we heard that Garnett was coming to Boston. My first reaction was to let out a barbaric yawp, fists raised high in the air, as I dove into the pool. Jay and I were supposed to be preparing the pool for when it opened, but all we could do was jump around and hug each other, mumbling about Celtic pride and championships. I knew Pierce, Allen, and Garnett were capable of winning championships. I never bought into the belieft that Garnett was ‘missing’ something because he couldn’t drag that sorry Timberwolves franchise further than he had. He finally had help.
Tom Westerholm: Confession: I was not a student of the game by any means when Kevin Garnett arrived. I was, however, a Celtics fan, so I kind of assumed that the Celtics were about to win every single championship ever.
A funny thing happened though: When they didn’t, they seemed more human. More likable. Winning one championship, and coming close multiple times with the maximum possible effort, actually made me love this team even more. Garnett was no exception.
2. What was your most memorable in-game moment regarding KG?
Trey: In ’08, in what I believe was his first game against the T-Wolves as a Celtic, KG sealed the game with a game-winning steal. Right after, you could just see the intensity on his face and in his reaction. Just the epitome of what he’s given each night he’s stepped on the floor.
Jordan: Every time Garnett goal-tended a shot after the whistle. When KG finally decides to retire, that will be his signature.
Tommy: Oh wow. This one is tough. There are so many memorable KG moments for me. Making Big Baby cry. Every Gino moment. Head-butting the stanchion. The one-man full court press. Barking on all fours. Telling Dwight Howard to “paint your face clown.” But, for me, it all comes back to Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals. The Celtics were up about 30 with 3-4 minutes left and Doc Rivers subbed out Garnett. Garnett, Pierce, and Rivers standing together, sharing a hug, sharing the moment. The entire season–the trades, the overseas trip, the 29-3 start, the sacrifice, the doubters–all culminated in that moment. Doc, KG, and Paul sharing a hug, sharing the moment–as champions.
Tom: Game 6 of the 2008 Finals, in the first half with the Celtics up 18, Garnett drove into the lane and was smashed to the ground, but he got a shot off and banked it in. The crowd went absolutely beserk, and he stayed on the ground for a moment pumping his fist and grinning. That was the moment I knew the Celtics were going to win that game, and I’ll never forget Mike Breen screaming “Garnett BANKS IT IN! AND THE FOUL!” Unbelievable.
3. What was your most memorable quote from KG?
Trey: It’s got to be his embrace with Bill Russell after they won it all in ’08. Chills ran down my body when I saw that. Finally being able to see a man who gave his all to win a championship have his dream come true was just awesome. Seeing him celebrate with the greatest winner in NBA history and say “I got my own” was amazing.
Jordan: “Chemistry is something that you don’t just throw in a frying pan and mix it up with another something and throw something on top of that and then fry it up and put in a tortilla and put it in microwave, heat it up, give it to you and expect it to taste good. You know? If y’all don’t know what I’m talking about then you can’t cook and this doesn’t concern you.”
Tommy: This entire interview with John Thompson, when KG breaks down on camera. If you ever wanted to get inside the mind of a winner, of a champion, this is your chance. http://youtu.be/SpAv_
Also, of course, ANYTHING IS POSSSSIBLLLLLLEEE!!!
Tom: Garnett to Craig Sager: “It was a GODDAMN BAR FIGHT. A bar fight. A bar fight. You ever been in a bar fight, Craig? Tonight was a bar fight, man. We knew they was going to come in with a lot of ene- Tonight was a bar fight. You ever been a bar fight? Ask Charles, he’s been in a bar fight. That’s what it was. We came out in the second half, simplified…I forgot you was doing an interview, go ahead.”
4. How good do you think the Nets will be?
Trey: The Nets have obviously improved. KG will be a great compliment to Lopez providing some much needed interior defense. Pierce, however, seems a bit redundant to have alongside Joe Johnson, unless they intend to use him as a spot-up shooter or something. This won’t bolt them into contention, but they’ll definitely be good enough to win the division. This is obviously a “win now” type of trade where the Nets realistically have a 2-year window to compete in the East.
Jordan: The parameters of this trade keep changing but I think as currently constructed the Nets are a top 4 seed and make it to the second round of the playoffs, maybe the ECF. Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce are pretty redundant players, and Johnson is going to have to do some pretty heavy lifting on defense to make up for Pierce’s old and Williams’ lazy. The Nets have a killer front court with Garnett, Lopez, and Evans but who among them is going to guard LeBron? If CJ Watson opts in they’ll have a very nice 7 man rotation that could be bolstered by signing a quality three and D guy for the veteran minimum, but this team doesn’t match up well with the Heat at all. Health could be a serious problem as well, the Nets entire (presumed) starting lineup all have battled injuries recently, the healthiest guy right now is LOPEZ.
Tommy: I think the Nets will win the Atlantic Division, making them a top 4 seed in the East. I’m not sure they can unseat the defending, defending champions, but the Nets, along with the Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls, will certainly provide a stern test. We’ve all seen KG transform an organization’s mindset, transform a team’s culture and it’s defense. Garnett may be older now, but he’s still one of the five best defensive players on the planet. It’s not just his defensive skill-set, however, that is so important. KG is the best communicator on defense I’ve ever seen play. He’ll call out the other team’s plays, he’ll tell Brook Lopez and Deron Williams exactly where they need to be on each play, and, by the force of his will, he will make Brooklyn a top 5 defense. With a starting lineup of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Brook Lopez, the Nets should have enough offense. With Kevin Garnett, now they should have the defense, too.
Tom: I think they will be very good, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they played for the Eastern Conference championship. I don’t think they will beat Miami, but Indiana pushed the Heat to seven games, and I wouldn’t want to face that Brooklyn lineup in a Game 7.
I’d still pick the Heat, but I think Brooklyn made a pretty bold statement, all things considered.
5. How unbelievably sad are you right now?
Trey: On a scale of 1-10, you could say my sadness level is 1,000,000,000. It just sucks. I knew it was going to happen, and I had built myself up to be extremely depressed at some point during this offseason, but it still hurts. To see two of my favorite players get traded to one of the teams I loath the most is a weird feeling. I’m sure I’ll breakdown even worse once I see them in Nets Uniforms.
Jordan: If I had written this last night I think I’d just be blubbering into my laptop until my tears shorted it out. Now I’m ok with this. This is something that had to happen and Danny Ainge did a tremendous job getting something out of nothing (that 2016 and 2018 pick might be pretty damn good). I’m sad about Garnett and Pierce right now, but I understand that this had to happen eventually. It just sucks now.
Tommy: KG is my favorite player. Pierce is family. It hurts.
Tom: Paul Pierce has been my favorite player for 15 years. His departure hurts worse for me. But Kevin Garnett’s arrival was when I began studying the game, and it was also when I really understood what older folks meant by “Celtics Pride.” Garnett had it, exuded it, played with it. He was an amazing Celtic, and I can’t wait until his jersey retirement ceremony. It’s going to be special.