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!
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.
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?
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…
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?