Thursday, February 23, 2017

Kevin Garnett says 'AAU has killed our league' in latest interview

While the NBA trade-deadline is just hours away, it's good to take a break from scanning rumors on social media and enjoy a legend speak his mind about their Hall-of-Fame career and what they think about the current state of the league.

Such was the case after a horrible All-Star game, NBATV capped off the weekend in New Orleans with a great interview of Kevin Garnett, his first since officially retiring back in September

The special, appropriately titled 'Kevin Garnett: All-Star Interview,' was conducted by none other than KG's mentor, coach and friend; Kevin McHale.

The two former Celtics had a great conversation as Garnett, who is as private as an athlete and person can get, opened up about his childhood in South Carolina and how he fell in love with the game basketball, to moving to Chicago, playing high-school ball and being recruited by different colleges to playing 21-seasons in the NBA.

'The Big Ticket' was drafted straight out of high-school and spent the first 12-years of his career with the Minnesota Timberwolves before he finally lifted his 'no-trade clause' to make the move to the Boston Celtics, where he would win his first and only championship ring in 2008.

The 2004 NBA MVP, was not sold on the idea at first to leave all he knew as a pro behind in Minnesota to possibly go win somewhere else after five straight first-round postseason exists and a lone trip to a conferance finals
"I don't really want to go to Boston," Garnett recalls as he sat down with Chauncey Billups and Tyron Lue before making a decision. "I want to win in Minnesota, I want to bring a championship to 'Sota."
It was Billups who had to remind KG that his best chance to win was starring him right in the face despite his loyalty to Minnesota.
"You got to know when to let it go, I know you're loyal," Garnett said Billups told him. "But you got to let it go. You want to win? You got to go [to Boston]."
The rest as they say is history, though Celtics nation always praises McHale for the trade that changed it all, they should also be thanking Billups and Lue for the two-hour conversation that finally convinced Garnett that he had to ship-up to Boston.

But what made everything click for the 2007-08 Celtics? According to Garnett, it was nothing more than team-chemistry and a closeness that made that group special, something he never experienced prior to his arrival in Boston
"We was always together, we was like brothers," said Garnett. "We'd be arm wresting at dinner, playing cards, it was a different feel...You're not going to beat a team like that, not with that connection. That's when it hit me, we're going to win, we're going to at least get a chance at winning something, just based off this relationship here."
Of course, McHale had to bring up Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals, when the Celtics blew a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter to the Los Angeles Lakers, we all remember what happened.
"The hardest game I've ever played to date, Garnett said. "There's no worst feeling from when you're looking at your legs and telling your legs to move, and whatever you can get out of your legs right now. It was the most tired I've ever been in a game. I was exhausted."
Despite a resurgence in 2012 against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, 2010 would be KG's last opportunity to win a second championship. After a season and a half in Brooklyn, Garnett's homecoming to his beloved 'Sota was welcomed with open arms to end his career.

But after the passing of his dear friend and coach Flip Saunders, the next chapter they both had envisioned for the franchise was quickly scrapped and management looked to be going in a different direction and Garnett would not be a part of their future plans.
"When [Flip] left, so did his dream, and his vision," said Garnett. "It's just sad to see that everybody in that organization didn't see the same vision and we parted ways."
"I wanted to give back to KAT, I wanted to give him everything that I had," added Garnett. "I had him everyday we'd see each other, same thing with [Andrew Wiggins], I'd share myself...that's all I wanted to do and be a part of the organization."
KG continued about how Sam Mitchell was let go after even though he was suppose to be a leader and a tool to help the young guys along with Garnett, who reminds us all that unfortunately more teaching is needed in today's NBA with the younger talent that gets drafted every year.
"Our league now is at a point where you have to teach more than anything," said Garnett. "AAU has killed our league, seriously. I hate to even say this but it's real. AAU has killed our league from the perspective that these kids are not being taught anything, they have intentions, they want things, but the way they see it is not how our league works. You earn everything in this league, you're not entitled to anything, it's more entitlement than anything else"
This attitude was none more evident than at this year's All-Star game, and weekend. These young stars don't take pride into what it is to play basketball professionally anymore, it seems like it's just paycheck and nothing more at times.

Garnett wanted to change that league-wide culture in Minnesota, but clearly wasn't given the chance. Something that most KG fans suspected after he announced his retirement through Instagram a week before training camp, there was no press-conferance and it doesn't seem like the Timberwolves are even going to retire his number anytime soon either.

These days you can enjoy KG on TV weekly during NBA games on TNT in his segment called Area-21, where he and a guest discuss a variety of topics, not just basketball.

Overall, it was a great interview, even though Garnett held back on certain topics, but that's just who he is. At least his legacy in Boston is safe and his No. 5 will be hanging in the rafters at the TD Garden on day.

Until then, enjoy Kevin Garnett's full interview by clicking the video below.


Joel Pavón

Picture used courtesy of YouTube

No comments:

Post a Comment