The question was about chemistry and Kevin Garnett, as he often does, was about to launch into an analogy. KG likes analogies. Aside from f-bombs, they're probably his favorite mode of communication. What made this one great was it combined his two favorite things in one hilarious, and rather silly, soundbite. My favorite part is when he says, "I'm not helping myself, am I?"
What makes a great KG analogy? It has to make sense on the surface, then get lost somewhere in translation and finally come full circle back to the original point. As KG would say, "This is what it is."
Here are some of our favorites, beginning with a recent one on November 2:
"Hyenas. Running in packs means that we help each other. Since I've been here, we've built the code on what these great organizations have been built on -- and that's history. And that's gained not by individual, but by team. And I just spoke upon that with everybody in here, without the coaches and everybody. Just letting all the new guys know what it is to be a (Celtic), reiterating that and letting them understand the severity of putting this jersey on and everything that comes with it. I won't go into that -- it's none of y'all business -- but I had to reiterate it tonight. I thought tonight was the perfect night to do that."
Hyenas, as it turns out, are vicious, clannish animals who can take down an antelope if given the opportunity and communicate in a sort of high-pitched screech. As players around the league will testify, KG's on-court trash talk tends to take on almost inhuman form. But wait, there's more, as the rest of the internet informs us:
"Spotted hyenas are organized into territorial clans of related individuals that defend their home ranges against intruding clans. The center of clan activity is the den, where the cubs are raised and individuals meet. The den is usually situated on high ground in the central part of the territory. Its above-ground entrances are connected to a series of underground tunnels."
That's not Garnett, but a zoological website. But it basically sums up KG's vision of team with the locker room serving as the den, and it certainly helps that the TD Garden is built on a train station accessible via the underground network that makes up the MBTA. Clearly he put some thought into this one.
Cooking with KG
"Timing is everything, and chemistry isn't something that you just don't throw in the frying pan and mix it up with another something, and throw something on top of that, and then fry it up, put it in a tortilla, put it in the microwave, heat it up and give it to you, and expect it to taste good. For those who can cook, y'all know what I'm talking about. If y'all don't know what I'm talking about and can't cook, then this doesn't concern you."
If I could go back in time to Dec. 13, 2011 I would have followed up with a question about what those somethings were: salsa, rice and beans, guacamole? I feel like KG's probably a guac guy.
Then there was this from May 7, 2012:
"I always like to use baking a cake as an example. Nothing's going to come out of the first two minutes. You have to sit there and wait on it, for y'all who know how to bake. Some of y'all don't know how to bake, but don't worry about it. Ask your mothers and fathers or something - someone who knows how to bake. But it's very similar to that. You have to give it time for it to turn into what it's going to be. Time tells everything when the results come, and I'm just glad we're in a nice rhythm right now."
Translation: Cooking with KG is AWESOME and he has very little respect for the culinary inclinations of the press.
Viva la Revolucion!
"With Doc Rivers' system, it's much like Cuba. You really don't have a lot of say. It's the Doc Rivers show and if you don't like it, then you find another show to be a part of. I understood it from day one that I got here, so if he needs me to play the five -- it's my dislike and things I don't like -- but I'll do anything for him. He asked me to play the five and he thought it would be better for our team, so that's what it was."
That was from this March 29. It makes sense that Garnett would have a basic understanding of Latin American dictatorships, because if you study his career, you'll know that he is one of the most revolutionary figures who ever played the game.
We take it for granted that coming out of high school was a viable path to the NBA, but no one had given it serious consideration in the modern era until Garnett did it in 1995. He then signed a massive deal with the Timberwolves that set in motion the first NBA lockout and established a ceiling for player contracts. I can remember talking to Sonny Vaccaro about KG once and Sonny screamed at me, ‘YOUNG MAN, THAT WAS THE LOCKOUT!' So there you go.
By the way, this interview he did with WEEI last season was easily the most revealing he's done since coming to Boston. He also said this, which started as an analogy but was simply real talk:
"I never wanted to be pieced around, or treated like a pawn, or a piece on the board. Loyalty in this game has been deleted on both sides. The business of this game is terrible for players. It's all over the place. I have to choose and make a decision to whether to be part of the future of that. I wish players would take more of a stand in our league and understand that it's a player's league."
Was Garbage Man in the Avengers or the Justice League?
"I'll be Batman, I'll be Robin. I'll be anybody you want me to be. I'll be the Garbage Man."
Jan. 12, 2009. Never one to seek the spotlight, KG would rather toil away as the anonymous city worker who takes out your trash. Perfect.
Knocking the bully out
Upon winning his first NBA championship, Garnett struggled mightily to find the right words on June 18, 2008. First, he compared it to driving really fast with the windows down. When that didn't work, he returned to his childhood.
"You ever go to school and you had a bully mess with you every day? I know everybody ain't no tough guy here. It's like that bully that you go to school every day [with] and you know when you get out of your mom's or dad's car, you know you're going to see him as soon as you walk through the doors, he's sitting there waiting to pat your pockets and mess with you. Then one day you say, 'This is going to stop today!' You walk in and as soon as the bully pats your pockets you lay his ass out and you see the expression on his face. You're sorta shook because you know what, you just knocked the bully out and you don't know how he's going to come back. The next morning when you come in and he's not there, it's like a sigh of relief. 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."
We're trying Kev. We're trying.