Kevin Garnett always found Seattle to be a difficult place for opponents. He played in 27 games there during his NBA career, leaving the court as a winner only eight times.
He remembers those days. And respects them, too.
In a wide-ranging interview this week with The Associated Press, Garnett covered plenty of topics, including the announcement over the weekend that he officially is a member of the Class of 2020 for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, his relationship with fellow inductee Kobe Bryant, the coronavirus pandemic, and his plans for the next five and 10 years.
But there was also a surprise: Garnett revealed a deep affinity for Seattle, to the point where he said he’d like to see the NBA return to that city — and said he would bring a team there if he could.
“If I have a dream, I would say that I would love to be able to go and buy the Seattle SuperSonics and reactivate the Seattle Northwest and get NBA loving back going into that area,” said Garnett, who starred for Minnesota and Boston and also played for Brooklyn. “I think it’s needed and it’s essential. Seattle was huge to our league. Not just Portland, but the whole northwest. I would love to be able to do that.”
These days, it’s not that uncommon for Garnett to be thinking big.
He found out late last week that he had been officially selected to the Hall of Fame, part of a nine-person group that will include four going in as players — himself, Bryant, Tim Duncan and Tamika Catchings. He raved about each for various reasons; Bryant for his competitive fire, Duncan because they were elite at the same position, Catchings for her body of work.
He said he still savors his battles with Bryant and Duncan.
“I like to think that steel sharpens steel, and I like to think that all three of us pushed each other to be the best that we could be,” Garnett said. “To be going in such a class like this, I’m more than honored.”
And the news came at a time where the coronavirus pandemic overshadows everything. Garnett has even limited how much news he can absorb, saying too much of what he sees is “scary.”
“I’ll be honest, I’ve just been feeding myself things to stay stimulated and I exercise a lot,” Garnett said. “I should be able to run a marathon when this (is) over with. … I’ve unplugged from the overall beast of it. I’m feeding myself with books, feeding myself with documentaries.”
They are a necessary distraction, in what has been a trying year. Garnett does not have great things to say about 2020, with the pandemic coming when he is still personally reeling from Bryant’s Jan. 26 death in a helicopter crash.
“I ain’t going to front, man, since Kobe died, it’s been like upside down. 2020 has been (awful),” Garnett said. “So, I’ve just been trying to maintain and … appreciating some of the small intangible things and actually enjoying life a little bit or trying to and be productive.”
For Garnett, that passion intersects with one of the passions Bryant had: Creating content. Bryant was connecting with people through children’s books, documentaries and other projects, and Garnett has a similar diversity in his content plans these days.
Garnett has a company called Content Cartel that he’s working hard to continue building now, even when basketball is in its hiatus for at least another several weeks.
“I got stories for every event it feels like,” he said. “I want to share that. They’re fun stories, they’re stuff that I’ve survived, they’re stuff that I think is compelling, I think it’s stuff that younger generation or younger people, or even people period can take from and use as a solution or as influence.”
And if he had one piece of advice for players today, as they deal with these uncertain times, it was this: Stay ready.
“Tomorrow is everything,” Garnett said. “So I think players obviously need to be locked into tomorrow and trying to create a tomorrow for not just them, but for their families. You’ve got to stay ready. I would stay as sharp as I could. It’s always something that you can do. We’re in this all together, man. This ain’t someone or one single individual going through it. We, everyone around the globe, are going through this.”