Paul Pierce on what it all means:
“You know, I’m not living under the shadows of the other greats now. I’m able to make my own history with my time here, and like I said, this is something that I wanted to do. If I was going to be [among] the best Celtics to ever play I had to put up a banner, and today we did that.”
Translation: When KG came here, it was a comfort to him, and a boon, and he felt supported by the tradition. He belonged, it gave him more strength, more purpose, and that’s why we’re here today. But damn, try spending a decade here without getting banner. I used to have these nightmares where Red and Dennis Johnson would point at me and laugh. That’s why I talk so quiet sometimes—I know they’re watching over me, but have that mean streak.
Kobe to Pau, after it was over:
“Being that we lost this series, you (guys) have no chance at a gold medal. I ain’t goin’ 0 for 2, homie.”
Translation: Some fools signed up for the Olympics because they love this country. Me, I grew up in Italy. And since I skipped the college thing, all those square fly-over states don’t count to me. I mean, I dig America and everything, but I can only ever have about 65% of the patriotism of my teammates, since I only believe in 33 states. Maybe 34, since the wife dragged me to Hawaii once in the middle of the summer—even though I told her “Boo, that’s prime weight room time. Why you gotta be like that?” But look, when we started this season, I wasn’t planning on being around in no Finals. That’s the way it was last year, and the year before that. So for real, I just wanted to win something. Anything. And the way it’s worked, I’ll also get to humiliate Pau in public without being accused of throwing him under the bus. No one ever called Frederic Weis a victim.
A Suns insider on the state of the team:
“I think our needs are pretty clear. We can’t ask Grant Hill to play 40 minutes a night, and Barbosa isn’t really a point guard.”
Translation: Our old guys are deteriorating, the young ones all of a sudden look funny in the light. That was the thing about D’Antoni: He was the Foundation of Youth and Wizard of Oz rolled up in one. Now he’s gone, and took the secret plans with him, so we’ve got to pick from all the team blueprints that Stern keeps in Creative Commons. And the bad news is, they don’t work with what we’ve got. Our needs? Something to fill the emptiness inside us. ”
Garnett makes the analogy of his lifetime for the assembled press:
“It’s like getting rid of the bully. It’s like I knocked the bully’s ass out! I knocked his ass clean out. That’s what it feels like. For all y’all who ain’t been bullied, y’all got no idea what I’m talking about. But for y’all who have, you understand my story.”
Translation: Man, there’s so much irony, I can hardly speak. First off, reporters, who among y’all ever knocked anyone out? And you think I was ever bullied for more than three second? I won every fight I had in grade school just by flaring my nostrils and scraping my nails against whatever stone surface was around. I’m trying to put this in a language you can understand, but I’m too gracious to point out that I’m distinctly lacking in this particular childhood trauma. But okay, here’s where it gets deep: That bully for me, it wasn’t just inside me, or out in ether. It was all the bullshit y’all wrote, and kept spreading in the minds of fans, all the questions about me along the way. Whether I could win, was clutch enough, or could never carry a team. Y’all were the bully. And you don’t know it, but right now, I’m looking down at each every one of you like WHAT. Except for Scoop. We’re cool.
Kobe reflects on losing:
“Second place just means you’re the first loser.”
Translation: Is “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose” supposed to be good or bad?
Lamar Odom, on what he’s got to work on:
“Get stronger, get nastier. It’s called a disposition, just to carry yourself a certain way throughout the game. I think [Boston] did a better job of that, playing a certain way for a longer period of time.”
Translation: It was crazy—like halfway through the series, I looked over at Garnett, and thought “Dang, he’s kind of like me. Tall, athletic guy who can do a lot of things on the floor, imitate a guard, and keeps his domepiece shaved bald.” Then I realized that he’s shouting and cussin’ all the time, like someone just broke into his crib and stole all his maple syrup. And the whole team feeds off of it, it makes them crazy and scared and proud at the same time. I mean, imagine if there was a dude like that on Lakers? So anyway, then I get home and get on the internet, and it turns out people have been talking for a while now about how me and KG have similar games. This summer, I’m going to bridge that gap. I’ll be a strong, nasty Lamar Odom and carry this team to a championship. Me in the second half, that was just a warm-up for next season. Strong and nasty, my man, strong and nasty.
Michael Beasley, on whose game he emulates:
“Carmelo [Anthony] is a guy I’ve watched for a few years, but it’s tough playing like him. He’s got one smooth game and he plays a lot more fluid than I do. I’d rather just play like me.”
Translation: What? I’m a super-athletic beast who plays with raw exuberance and Melo’s all about his polished moves and precision? No sh-t. Whatever. I can’t wait to play against him. Basketball is my life!
Phil Jackson assesses the carnage:
“Rondo was the star. He was the guy out there that made the plays, got the steals, pushed their offense into high drive and created havoc for us.”
Translation: Red Auerbach may have hung banners. But I can blow your mind and turn your whole basketball universe with a single quote. You say ‘anything is possible,’ I’ll be busy defining my own universe. Where’s that astral yacht I called for? Luc! Luc! Ready the sauna!
Boston fans, to Kobe:
“You’re not Jordan”
“Where is Kobe”
Translation: You are there, and yet not there. In this game, Boston’s even got the Zen on lock.
Brian Scalabrine with some homespun wit:
“In 20 years (when everyone has forgotten), I can tell my kids I was a starter. And in 30 years, I’ll tell them I was MVP!”
Translation: In the heat of the moment, I’m forgetting that it’s been 22 years since this city’s last championship.