Kevin Garnett Is a Master of Metaphor

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Nov. 8 2012 2:07 PM

Kevin Garnett Is a Master of Metaphor

152750280
Kevin Garnett

Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Late last night, SB Nation flagged a funny metaphor made by Celtics big man Kevin Garnett as he attempted to explain his team’s lack of chemistry early in the new NBA season. “You can't speed chemistry up,” he said. “You got Comcast. Some shows you can’t fast forward through, you got to let it go through and watch the silly-ass commercials and be pissed, right?”

David Haglund David Haglund

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.

It was an amusing exchange, made more amusing by the fact that, as Business Insider noted today, “Comcast SportsNet New England owns the broadcasting rights to Celtics games in the Boston area.” It was also more creative than what was previously his most inventive metaphor in an explanation for the lack of team chemistry:

Chemistry is something that you don’t just throw in the frying pan and mix it up with another something, then throw it on top of something, then fry it up and put it in a tortilla and put in a microwave, heat it up and give it to you and expect it to taste good. You know? For those of you who can cook, y’all know what I'm talking about. If y’all can’t cook, this doesn’t concern you.
Advertisement

Still, on the list of great Kevin Garnett metaphors and similes, both of these fall pretty far down. As the blog CelticsHub noted last year, the man has a gift for figurative language that few Hall of Fame-caliber athletes can match. When his team had only four assists at half-time in a March 2011 game, for instance, Garnett compared the incident to an unlikely animal. “That’s like a green squirrel,” he said. “Like, ‘What’s going on?’ ” He has also compared fellow NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal to fresh laundry and playing for coach Doc Rivers to coming home to a birthday cake.

And he is fond of extended metaphors, or conceits:

If I was a Caesar salad, the croutons would be my friends, the lettuce would be my family and the dressing itself would be my mom. Because you can have the lettuce and the croutons, and it can be called a Caesar, but until you have the dressing and it actually tastes like a Caesar…

Not surprisingly, though, Garnett has created his greatest metaphors when describing what it’s like to play basketball. Sometimes it’s like walking through a field of tall grass, he says, and sometimes it’s like walking out into cold weather with water on your hands. Confused? Let the man himself explain:

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 11:44 PM Driving in Circles The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.