Celtics icon Kevin Garnett opens up on Floyd protests, Allen feud in new NYT interview
Legendary Boston Celtics big man Kevin Garnett recently sat down with the New York Times’ Sopan Deb for a wide-ranging interview covering everything from KG’s attempt to buy the franchise where he started his NBA career — the Minnesota Timberwolves — to the status quo of his longtime feud with former Celtics teammate Ray Allen after the latter left Boston to join the Miami Heat in free agency in 2012.
It also touches on The Big Ticket’s views on the activism that spread like wildfire after the murder of George Floyd in the summer of 2020 that nearly put the brakes on the NBA’s post-pandemic hiatus restart.
You should read the interview in full, but here is a sampling of some of the more intriguing answers offered up by Garnett.
On the Floyd protests and the Disney pandemic restart
Not known for being especially political, the Celtics champion actually had a strong opinion on how he thought the situation ahead of the Disney-hosted restart for NBA players in the looming Showtime documentary that Deb quotes to set the table for his interview.
“I actually thought for a second that the players had momentum to where, if they could’ve took a stance, all of them together, and said, ‘No, we’re not playing,’ that they could’ve actually went on Capitol Hill and started a conversation, a real one, and started talking about police reform.”
Said Garnett, speaking to rapper Snoop Dogg. KG then added, “Just falling in line actually didn’t really help anything.”
“I just think that if players really, really felt passionate about the George Floyd situation, and they wanted to do more, I think the way that … you should actually effect change is changing,” elaborated Garnett in the interview with Deb.
“If that meant you all not playing, then you shouldn’t. I thought that should’ve been an option.”
“I thought the league actually took advantage of the players and knowing that the majority of the players needed to play and needed the opportunity to play, and that wasn’t going to be an option,” he continued.
“It seems like during the pandemic, the world linked on sports for entertainment, or to keep things at a calm. With that type of leverage, you got to know how to actually use that leverage. I don’t think the players really had a firm leadership in being able to devise a plan and put it together.”
More than a year later with little to show in terms of structural change, Garnett is far from alone in that view.
On the Feud with Ray Allen
“I wish Ray all the best, and I wish him and his family all the best, and whatever he’s doing, I’ll always be supportive of it,” said KG when asked if he had decided to relax his ire towards his former teammate.
“And that’s all I got to say,” he added.
But of course, it was not.
“It’s not that big of a deal to me,” explained the Hall of Famer.
“I think Ray’s living his life. I’m living mine. That’s where I stand on it. I think if people wanted to do something, we would have done it by now. So it’s pretty obvious where we’re at, but I wish all the best to all my teammates and people that I played with.”
“Not just Ray, everybody,” finished The Big Ticket.
That might be as close as we ever get to hearing Garnett let go of that old battle, but it’s good enough for us. The world is a better place without such feuds lasting too long, and can obscure the greatness that was if the storm clouds linger too long.
Left out here are some juicy rumors about the Timberwolves’ future in Minnesota and plenty more with Garnett being as interesting an interview as ever — even if some of it is beyond the purview of a Celtics-oriented outlet.