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Friday, March 9th, 2012 at 3:24 pm  |  34 responses

The Young Assassinator

A look back at a classic Kevin Garnett interview from SLAM 21.

Kevin Garnett’s voice changes when he gets excited. It’s smoove. It’s an indication that there’s still a kid inside of him, that certain things still matter. The same thing that happens to my voice when I get amped. KG sounds cool; I sound like a girl. In the middle of a conversation about life, Shaq pops up on the television screen. We begin talking about basketball, the secon-most important thing in both our lives. Remember this is not an interview. This is a conversation with a god. A basketball god.

KG: There’s gonna be a lot of stacked teams this year.

SLAM: What do you think you all are going to do?

KG: Shit is about to be ours! I mean, I look back on it and everybody’s getting good, and too many old cats are going out. You know? Before you know it, the Houston trio is going to be out, the Chicago’s trio is going to be gone. Stoudamire, Steph and Allen bringing new dimensions to the point guard spot. Hopefully myself, Marcus Camby and Antoine [Walker] can bring new stuff to the three spot. Stuff that I think Big Dog, Glenn [Robinson] originated. I mean it’s about to be nice, man. Soon you’re going to have five men bringing the ball up, all with crazy handles. The game is about to be uptempo as hell. It’s going to be nuts.  [All of the sudden.. big voice change] Yo, big shout-out to the WNBA and the ABL, oh my god!

Slam: Wassup?

KG: No I love that, people can say what they want, but hey, I love watching them ball…and you know who my favorite player is?

SLAM: Dawn Staley?

KG: Her too…but Chamique Holdsclaw! Ohh! She has so much game! She has too much game! Oh my god!

SLAM: Ohhh! Man, she got it. More game than the Parker Brothers. She’s going to be the first female player to go through hardship. She’s going to come out early and make both leagues have a lottery to  fight over who is going to get her. Watch. And whichever league gets her is going to be the one that survives.

KG: Well, wherever she goes, I’m going. I’ll be there. Nothing personal, but I’m a fan for real.

SLAM: And Saudia Roundtree…

KG: [Voice up another octave] She’s from Madison! She’s from here! Yeaahhh! Ohhhh! Georgia, baby! I saw her in high school, she used to come to the park and give the boys some league ball. Straight like that, talkin’ crazy!

SLAM: Jumper for days! And she got some handle, but she can’t pass the pill like Dawn…

KG: Ooohhhh, I love Dawn Staley! I seen her do some Rod Strickland shit. I heard you used to see her in Virginia [I shake my head to verify] OOOWEEE! When she had the little MC Lyte li’l do? Oh, my God! Man, she was niiiice!

SLAM: Yeah and I also got to see Walt Williams at Maryland, Grant Hill’s senior year in high school and Bernard King when he was with the Bullets…

KG: Ohhh.. goin’ through picks! Baseline! Jumper! Fade away, all day! Biiing! Ohhh…he had so much game. He didn’t make Top 50 did he?

SLAM: Nope.

KG: Him and Dominique. Did Alex English make it?

SLAM: Nope. Bob McAdoo either.

KG: Bob McAdoo made it. He didn’t? No. 11. Lakers. You telling me Bob McAdoo didn’t make Top 50!?? Get the fuck outta here. Who else didn’t make it?

SLAM: Adrian Dantley, Connie Hawkins..

KG: They gonna have to do an NBA 100. [He starts acting silly, laughing] I’m gonna be in that 100. I gotta be in that 100. I don’t know what I gotta do, if I gotta do push-ups all night…whatever I gotta do, I gotta make that 100. Really, seriously [still laughing]. Ooowee! I gotta plot on how I’m going to get in that 100.

SLAM: Big Mo’ made it though.

KG: Moses Malone. The man that laid it down for everybody. My mentor. Moses had a lot of brothers. You know I met him? [Excited] Yeah, I got to meet him once, and I ain’t gonna front, I was shook. I wanted to sit down and vibe with him, but we were rushing to get on the bus. And when I met him he was like [in a deep voice] “Good to meet you, young fella. I hear you are doing a good job. Keep it up.” And I was like, “ ….damn.” I wanted to say something, but I had to keep going.

[KG starts thinking] I need to get with him in the gym.  He gave The Dream [Hakeem Olajuwon] his moves, right? I need tapes on some of these guys. I need a tape of nothin’ but Moses Malone. Get me that. And I’ll for sure make that NBA 100.

SLAM: You know I was at the crib talking about I’d trade you straight up for Scottie Pippen…

KG: Word?

SLAM: Have you—well I know you aren’t thinking past next year but have you thought about playing at home?

KG: For Chicago? Never thought about it. I’d think about it if Mauldin [SC] had a team [laughs].

SLAM: Are you looking forward to signing a new contract, becoming a free agent, being mad filthy stankin’ richer than a mutha…

KG: You know, everybody’s asking me that. Am I going to Chicago? Am I leaving the Timberwolves? The whole thing is a big issue now. Man, I play basketball to have fun. You know what I’m sayin? I pay someone to handle that other part of my life.

SLAM: Come on, yo. Don’t you ever think like, “Damn, after next year I’m gonna be worth….”

KG: Never. I don’t have a dollar value. There’s not enough money in the world to pay me how I treat this game. You can’t put my love on a contract, then sell it to me. You can’t do that. It’s like I wouldn’t sell you my mother or my sister or my family. You can’t sell that. You can’t put a price on the love I have for this game. This is nothing but love—to hell with the money. I been doing this back when Scoop Jackson didn’t know Kevin Garnett from Peter Vescey. You know what I’m sayin? Nothing’s changed to this day. I go in the rain, I hoop, I sleep, I hoop, if it’s snowin’, I hoop. Sleeting, hail storm, I hoop…

SLAM: Do you ever think you’re going to get tired of it?

KG: No. I get tired of women, I don’t get tired of basketball [laughs]. Basketball is my life. That’s why can’t none of these teams pay me any amount for how I take this game. Whether you pay me one dollar or you pay me $7 zillion, it’s always going to be the same.  So don’t think because you are paying me less or paying me more that you can…you know what I’m sayin’? People come up to me all the time and say, “You always hoopin’.” I say to them, “What you doin’?” Period.

SLAM: So it’s the most important thing in your life?

KG: No, Ashley is the most important. Then basketball. Then the rest of my family [laughing]. That’s messed up, huh?

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  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Damn, Scoop got great stuff. Cats must really like Scoop to be so open with him, or it was just a different League. This is a great interview and Slam is great for running it again.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    “Never. I don’t have a dollar value. There’s not enough money in the world to pay me how I treat this game. You can’t put my love on a contract, then sell it to me. You can’t do that. It’s like I wouldn’t sell you my mother or my sister or my family. You can’t sell that. You can’t put a price on the love I have for this game. This is nothing but love—to hell with the money. I been doing this back when Scoop Jackson didn’t know Kevin Garnett from Peter Vescey. You know what I’m sayin? Nothing’s changed to this day. I go in the rain, I hoop, I sleep, I hoop, if it’s snowin’, I hoop. Sleeting, hail storm, I hoop…”
    This is why my favorite players of all-time list goes 1. Iverson 2. Hakeem 3. Garnett.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/tray24 T-Ray

    Great interview probably one of the best I’ve read. KG gets a bad rep sometimes but he seems like a pretty chill dude. He seems very honest and I can respect honesty instead of being something you’re not.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    I had no idea dude was from Chicago (well I did) but I thought he was from SC.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    He is from SC.
    But he had to go live in Chicago after he got locked up in Carolina. Moved up there with his sister, had his own apartment for like his senior or junior year of high school.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/tray24 T-Ray

    That’s a damn shame he had to fight the racist attitudes and had to move because of it. I know he’s not a special case but that’s not right.

  • BoWeezy24

    People come up to me all the time and say, “You always hoopin’.” I say to them, “What you doin’?” Period.

    Thats Cold! Love That.

  • http://www.nesn.com/2012/02/kobe-bryant-says-hes-better-than-michael-jordan-second-to-wilt-chamberlain-as-best-nba-player-ever-v.html shutup

    That passion, is what made me a fan of his a long time ago. He was the fire Duncan was the ice. Brings me back to riding the A train to west 4th and even before I looked at the court I had to stop by the newsstand to see if the new ish of Slam dropped, he used to get it weeks earlier than anybody. and Scoop just had a way to relate to them, thats why they opened up, right on point Allen.

  • LA Huey

    “Within myself, I’ve gotta have this mad-man Tasmanian Devil come out” Word.

  • http://nba.com GP23

    This was a great read. I would enjoy seeing more of these vintage throwback interviews on here.

  • http://www.slamonline.com house

    @Gp23: agreed cuz most of the interviews lately of current NBA players suck b@lls.

  • http://slamonline.com datkid

    DOPE.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Shutup
    I actually got into journalism because I used to read Scoop in Slam. I was going to do sports, was the sports editor at college, but then decided to switch to straight news because so many sport journalists I met seemed to hate the Leagues they covered. I was worried that if I started doing it as a job, I’d end up like them.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Beautiful.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com albie1kenobi

    with all due respect to every writer in history of Slam, Scoop was the man. if Scoop penned it, you knew it was a must read. he doesn’t write article. he speaks poetry.
    and that’s an awesome review of a young KG.
    Ben, can you hook up Scoop and KG, have them read the article again and have another “conversation”? i’d love to hear KG being retrospective on himself.

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    Is it weird that I almost teared up when I saw and read this. I still remember getting this issue in the mail and the cover was messed up and I was mad as hell, so I bought another one just to have a clean cover and my Dad said I needed help.

  • http://www.nesn.com/2012/02/kobe-bryant-says-hes-better-than-michael-jordan-second-to-wilt-chamberlain-as-best-nba-player-ever-v.html shutup

    Makes sense, When I covered sports for my junior college I tried to write like him, using a lot of personal experiences in my writing, plus being on the team gave me an insight into things others would have never seen, like my boy throwing up the spaghetti coach cooked on the tournament trip to Maryland, because we were drinking straight Vodka while bowling after we got bumped. This issue probably was like the 5th one I bought, the first one was with Scottie Pippen on the cover and it was like the 50th greatest issue, been hooked ever since, I dont care if I only had $5 in my pocket, it was bought on sight, I only missed one issue, including all the special issues and that was when the lakers won the chip 2 years ago, every walmart was sold out, people in Vegas love the effin lakers.

  • http://www.nesn.com/2012/02/kobe-bryant-says-hes-better-than-michael-jordan-second-to-wilt-chamberlain-as-best-nba-player-ever-v.html shutup

    @albie that would be a sick idea, sort of like the barbershop sit down with Shaq,Penny and D.Scott. It was sad to see Penny, he looked like he had so much sorrow over the way his career went, he was smiling on the outside but you could tell he hurts deep. On another note the love of the game is what I see in Durant, thats why I am a fan of his, his fire reminds me of Garnett.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com albie1kenobi

    @shutup: i was sold on KG from day 1 and been a huge fan since. he may have been an a$$ to a lot of people all along, but he plays with such unbridled joy it was infectious. (in fact i’d say no one has played with as much joy as KG in his early wolves day, until Jeremy Lin blew up the scene last month.)
    penny was one of my top 5 favorite players and i think people don’t realize how GREAT he was because of his multiple failed attempts at comebacks. if his body had held up, he’d have to be a HOFer.
    as for durant, no matter how nice he is, i can’t watch the Thunder coz of the whole Seattle fiasco. The city of Seattle could have been looking forward to a championship parade nowadays. it’s against my principal to support the Thunder. i just can’t do it.

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    young guys during this era weren’t as conditioned to give trite pre-composed responses to all media questions. Nowadays the media has made it so that athletes simply can’t express themselves freely without being immediately given some negative label. You just can’t have this kind of candid convo about the game with any of the league guys todays….which is sad. This is a masterpiece, captures the essence of KG….even in his more immature years, one thing remains as evident as anything can possibly be….heart and passion simply emanate from this man

  • Robin

    Ouff! I missed the old school stuff. This cover is legend. lol

  • http://slamonline house

    I loved Scoop’s style of expressive journalism. It had resonance, it was exciting and it had mad flavor. I reread early SLAM’s so damn much it bordered on being obsessive compulsive.

  • Justin

    Love KG, but he sounded dumb as mess when he said his sister was 16 then he said even though she is almost 18, going on 21. Whoa. Math got him.

  • http://www.nesn.com/2012/02/kobe-bryant-says-hes-better-than-michael-jordan-second-to-wilt-chamberlain-as-best-nba-player-ever-v.html shutup

    Justin you missed the point, she was sixteen almost 18(16 is close to 18)and acting grown like she was 21, nvm. @Albei I feel for Seatle, the green and gold was iconic, but just as a fan of basketball you gotta root for someone that plays with such love, and Durant is as close to KG as there is in the league. Penny’s situation just makes me sad, I wish he woulda been able to come back, him and Steve Francis…..articles like this are gonna make me break out the tub filled with close to 15 years of slams and start going through them, talk about a trip down memory lane, I could literally write my life story by going from cover to cover, some of the slams folded in half to fit in my back pocket others dog eared from being in my book bag and that coverless reggie miller joint because I couldnt walk around with his face looking back at me.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Dagger

    This was amazing. Gotta love Slam.

  • Justin G.

    Man, reading ebonics is annoying as hell

  • allen3

    remember the 1st pics of garnett I saw was him wearing a penny shoes air flight one I think
    I became an instant fan
    and since then many time his memory cross those from penny in my mind

    like the lil penny ad where he told him to say hello to his man kevin garnett

    and those garnett 3 really looks like they belong to the penny shoes line
    jus my 2 cent

  • MikeC.

    Damn. I wish I’d kept m y old SLAMs. I donated them all to the library at my wife’s school.

  • Justin

    Scoop is cool, but he tried WAAAAAAAY to hard back in those days. Just be yourself dude, stop trying to sound uneducated. Ahh the delusional life and mind of the black american male….

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    SMH

  • j

    man how was old mates interview questions you can really tell this was from back in the 90′s “more game than the parker brothers” haha

  • http://www.nesn.com/2012/02/kobe-bryant-says-hes-better-than-michael-jordan-second-to-wilt-chamberlain-as-best-nba-player-ever-v.html shutup

    WOW, why do people insist on posting comments like that?

  • http://www.yahoo.com The Fury

    Scoop was the reason why I started buying SLAM magazine. Every issue before then was a can’t miss, but now it’s not the same. But I still buy it because I’m loyal, Slam is already a part of my life.

  • jub al

    I think the previous comments have captured everything that went through my mind as I was rereading this interview… Just can’t believe that it’s already been 15 years since that cover came out… Seemed like just yesterday…..

    And while we be talking about mid to late 90′s stars, how about my man Grant Hill? Anybody remember when he ….ahem…. Just like Mike, Only Better? That was, hands down, THE best cover ever….

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