Top of the World!
Kevin Garnett shows America how to celebrate an NBA title.
Posted Wednesday, June 18, 2008, at 2:13 PM
As the clock expired on the Boston Celtics' merciless beating of Los Angeles Tuesday night, Kevin Garnett fell to his knees atop the leprechaun logo at center court. It was a touching tableau—you couldn't quite tell whether Garnett was genuflecting before the Celtic gods or had simply keeled over with exhaustion. Nobody in the NBA plays with Garnett's intensity, and nobody—perhaps in the history of professional sports—wanted to win a championship more than KG.
We got our first hint of just how badly Garnett wanted it back in 2005. In an interview with former Georgetown coach John Thompson, the then-Timberwolves forward said that, on account of his team's middling season, he hadn't "slept right in about two months."
At about the 4:20 mark, Thompson asks Garnett, "What's driving you?" His response: "That I'm losing. That I'm losing." A few seconds later: "I'm losing." After a sniffle and a shake of the head: "I'm losing." Garnett then puts up his index finger, asking the camera to stop rolling. "These are tears of pain," he tells Thompson. A minute later, he loses it again. "I hate that I'm like this in front of you right now, man," he says, sounding like a guy who can't keep it together during a wedding toast.
Garnett has since left his losing ways behind and helped engineer the biggest turnaround in NBA history, turning the Celtics from a laughingstock to a champion. Tuesday night, it became clear that—just like losing did—winning has made Kevin Garnett completely insane. In perhaps the strangest postgame interview of the television era, an ecstatic KG talked, shouted, and raved for two and a half minutes in the general direction of ABC sideline reporter Michele Tafoya.
0:00: Greeted by Tafoya, Garnett first appears to be gripped by emotions familiar to any sports fan who's watched a championship celebration: happiness and disbelief. He presses his brand-new championship hat to his head with both hands, seemingly afraid it might come loose.
0:07: "NBA Champion—how does that sound?" Tafoya asks. Garnett is at a loss for words. After a long pause and more futzing with his new hat, he says, in a strangely even tone, "Man, I'm so, I'm so hype right now."
0:20: Garnett tells Tafoya that "anything's possible." He then leans back and howls at the moon: "ANYTHING'S POOOOOOSSIIIIIBLLLLLLE!" He holds the note for four seconds.
0:27: At this point the catharsis gets the better of Garnett, and he begins crying. These are not the poignant tears of joy shed by Michael Jordan upon winning his first Larry O'Brien Trophy. Garnett is in the throes of something closer to a child's tantrum, mumbling indecipherable words. Approximate translation: "Oh my buh buh, fa fa fa fa fa." He then buries his head in the shoulder of an unidentified Celtics staffer, who proceeds to say, "Yeah, baby!" repeatedly. ABC's producers pull away for a moment, cutting to a long shot of the arena.