Kevin Garnett was married in 2004, but I know nothing else about his relationship. You won’t see him pretending to be a statue in Boston anytime soon and he likewise would never conduct the Boston Pops or sing at the bar Cheers. You see, Garnett is an intensely private individual. But when he gives interviews, we are sometimes allowed to peer through brief windows into his character.
Garnett appeared on the Dan Patrick Show this morning. While he didn’t quite bear his soul like the time he cried in front of John Thompson, Garnett nonetheless revealed himself, this time more subtly. Maybe I’m being overly psychoanalytic. It probably wouldn’t be the first time, nor would it be the last. But Garnett’s interview seemed telling (read the transcript on Green Street).
At one point, Patrick poked fun of Brian Scalabrine.
“You got room for me on a one-year deal on the bench?” Patrick asked. “I could be sort of a Scalabrine type.”
But Garnett is fiercely loyal to those who deserve it.
“You willing to give up that body of yours, man?” KG said. “Scal gave up a lot. He was big for us. I know people like to crack little jokes about Scal. Scal’s in the league for a reason.”
Garnett went on to discuss a host of different topics. He does not trust the owners in the labor battle because they are the opponent and he does not know their entire agenda. He loved playing with Shaq and called this season “probably the most fun I’ve had in a long time in the NBA.” He believes the lockout will not continue throughout the entire season — “this game is too beautiful,” he explained, “with everything that’s going on and all the story lines that surround our game, I can’t see just blowing away the season.” He still wishes he left Minnesota earlier because management did not share his vision for the future, which presumably featured winning rather than rebuilding. And he has not yet discussed a contract extension with the Celtics (his contract ends after the 2011-’12 season), nor does he know how long he wants to continue playing.
The conversation turned to the Lakers’ suiting of Garnett when he was available on the trade market. As Zach Lowe recalls, the Lakers reportedly offered Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum for Garnett. And the deal was close. If Garnett had said yes, he would have been a Laker.
“What’s disturbing about the whole Lakers situation was just Kobe [Bryant] and Phil [Jackson] at the time,” said Garnett. “They were at each other pretty bad, and a new situation full of uncertainty wasn’t something that I wanted to get into.”
Garnett loves to win. Hell, he once famously broke down in tears because his Minnesota Timberwolves were mired in struggles. But he could have played alongside Kobe Bryant, then the game’s best player, and played for Phil Jackson, the game’s most accomplished coach, yet Garnett said no.
Maybe he feared that the duo’s squabbles would keep the team from winning. Or maybe there are some things more important than winning, even to Kevin Garnett, who might run his grandmother over with a tractor if it meant he could win an NBA championship. Garnett paired with Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Doc Rivers instead, two stars and one then-unheralded coach. They had not won any championships alone or together, but hey, they weren’t mired in a public argument either. They were in the right stages of their career to embrace Garnett and everything he stands for.
I have to admit, I’m fascinated by Kevin Garnett. The way he plays with a volcano of emotions. The way he walks into Boston’s locker room before a game and does not say a single word. The way he altogether stops talking to young teammates who won’t listen to his advice. The way he looks down most of the time he talks, but when he looks up it’s as if his eyes could stare a hole into your soul.
Garnett almost always shields his private life from the media. He’s a complex individual, one of the most unique characters in the NBA, and I would never claim to understand everything he is. But sometimes he opens his mouth and a few telling words come out, and I feel just a little bit closer.