All eyes were on him, but Kevin Garnett didn’t care.
The newly acquired big man kissed his No. 5 Celtics jersey as he, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen were posing for photographs. He was slightly teary. His emotion was genuine.
“This is probably been the hardest 72 hours I’ve dealt with since I’ve been in the NBA,” said Garnett. “Initially I had no interest in leaving Minnesota. After [Timberwolves owner] Glen Taylor shared his views about the future, they contradicted mine.
“On draft night when Boston traded for Ray Allen, the whole situation changed for me. I didn’t say anything to anyone. But I contemplated. I really tried to be comfortable in seeing myself in a Celtic jersey.
“I thought this was probably my best opportunity of winning a ring.”
Garnett wore his emotions on his sleeve during the press conference. He looked visibly upset when talking about leaving Minnesota, and given his reputation for loyalty, it was hard to question him. He nodded feverishly when Danny Ainge shot down any comparisons to The Big 3.
“I’m a very passionate player, but the one thing that hurts more than anything is losing,” Garnett said. “Knowing that going into a game and knowing that you have a slight chance of winning is difficult. It feels good to have two big guns on the side of me. It feels real good.”
Garnett said he was frustrated with Minnesota’s youth movement.
“I can’t do young. You need veterans in this league to win.”
He also dispelled any notion of not wanting to come to Boston. While admitting he had interest in Phoenix and Los Angeles, he said he was leery of Kobe’s contract situation and just didn’t feel the same passion in those two cities.
“All of those places are beautiful to live,” said Garnett. “When you think on basketball, on sports here, on the fans, it was a no-brainer. There was no way I was going to duplicate that.”
He said he talked to Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and former Celtic Gary Payton about the city of Boston.
“I reached out to Paul’s four phones and left a message on all four,” Garnett joked. “Luckily Ray had two phones and immediately called me back.”
“I didn’t recognize the area code,” Pierce joked about not calling Garnett back.