Celtics

Kobe Bryant was devastated to learn Kevin Garnett was traded to the Celtics in 2007

Plus five things we learned from KG's interview with GQ.

Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett speaks during the 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony. AP Photo/Kathy Willens

When Kevin Garnett was traded to the Celtics in 2007, he recalls a conversation he had with Kobe Bryant when the Lakers star first learned that Garnett had tried to contact him over the summer.

Garnett, in a colorful and highly worthwhile interview with GQ’s Michael Pina, described both sides of his conversation with Bryant, who was devastated to learn that he missed Garnett’s messages while touring China with Nike.

“‘YO, MAN, YOU WAS TRYING TO GET IN CONTACT WITH ME?’” Garnett recalled Bryant saying, per GQ (the yelling, of course, was Bryant). “‘Man, get the f— outta here.’ ‘NAH, NAH, I’M SERIOUS, MAN. I GOT THIS S— LATE, MAN. DAMN MAN.’ ‘It’s all good.’ ‘NAH, IT AIN’T GOOD, YOU IN THAT WRONG COLOR, MAN. WHAT THE F—, MAN. HOW YOU GONNA GO TO BOSTON OF ALL PLACES.’ ‘Man, nah, you gotta chill.’”

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Garnett admitted he harbors “what ifs” about playing with Bryant in LA. Playing with Pierce helped Garnett earn his first (and only) championship, and the two became close friends, but as Garnett mused to GQ: “If playing with [Paul Pierce] was like this, then playing with [Kobe] would’ve been like what?”

If Garnett and Bryant had partnered, the most likely result would have been championships — Bryant helped will the Lakers to a pair of titles in 2009 and 2010 with a talented big man in Pau Gasol who was unquestionably inferior to Garnett, even at that stage in Garnett’s career.

Still, Garnett — who said he also wonders what would have happened if he went to the Celtics in 2004 or 2005 — did get what he wanted in Boston: A championship and a buddy in Pierce with whom he can podcast and travel the world as a retiree.

Yes, you read that correctly: A podcast idea teased by Pierce in September is apparently a real possibility. Here’s hoping they leave any language filters behind.

Here are some other takeaways from Garnett’s highly entertaining interview.

Garnett has a perfect description of his intense playing style

Garnett offered an R-rated metaphor to GQ of what it feels like to play a basketball game in his mind, but he also painted a more family-friendly picture.

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“You know the feeling you get when you enter a dark room and you can’t see anything?” Garnett said. “And now you’re using your sense and your touch to kind of gingerly get through? Well, imagine running full speed through that dark, and then whatever you hit, you hit.”

“Sometimes the screaming would just be a release, man,” he added. “I’ve got so much f—ing energy that I had to just…sometimes, drinking Gatorade, I’d spit it right up in the f—ing air.”

Garnett mildly regrets dissing Joakim Noah (and says he never mentioned La La Anthony)

Pina asked Garnett about some of his more memorable trash-talking moments. Garnett didn’t address his comments to Charlie Villanueva (he allegedly called Villanueva, who has alopecia, a “cancer patient”), but he did express mild regret that he tore into Joakim Noah for saying hello.

Per Noah, Garnett screamed “Yo, who the f— you talking to? What the f— do you think you’re talking to?” when he tried to introduce himself.

“When he said that, I was like, ‘Oh s—, I shouldn’t have said that,'” Noah recalled later on Barstool’s “Pardon My Take” podcast. “And then I kind of fell back, knowing I shouldn’t have said that, and then when I didn’t say anything, I guess he thought I was a p—- because he kept getting louder.”

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Garnett told Pina he could have been a little kinder in that instance.

“If I’d have known he was a huge fan like that, I probably wouldn’t have went so hard, but I’m in competition,” Garnett said. “I’m a dragon. I’m out here [breathes fire].”

Garnett also denied an NBA urban legend that he told Carmelo Anthony his then-wife La La Anthony tasted like Honey Nut Cheerios.

“I’ve never said anything about anyone’s family,” Garnett said (a claim that stretches credulity). “I’ve never said anything to Melo about La La. I’m a Frosted Flakes man.”

Garnett is proud (and bitter) about his place in NBA bargaining history

At 21, Garnett signed a six-year, $126 million deal that later prompted a lockout. Garnett’s peers envied the young superstar’s huge contract, but Garnett took a more progressive look at the landscape — understanding that in collective bargaining, players should be on the same side against ownership.

“I called the higher society out and really put owners on the f—ing forefront with the real issues,” Garnett said. “I didn’t believe in the partnership with the league. I believe that the partnership worked if the league actually respected and wanted to hear what the players had to say, and what the players were actually bringing to the table… My generation actually was a little more together on the topics.”

Garnett’s favorite movie is Serendipity.

Garnett — who played a key role in the well-reviewed movie “Uncut Gems” — described his favorite movie as only Garnett can describe a romantic comedy.

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“It took me, and I never let it go,” he told GQ. “Like, that’s some s— that I would totally be on, being free-spirited and all that. Every time I watch Serendipity, I feel like I’m watching it for the first time, you know what I’m saying? … Each time I’m like, ‘No! Get back on the elevator! Go, go!’ Like, f—.”

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