There was nothing more he could have asked for, save for one good friend. “Thought we were going to see Gino — thought Gino was going to jump up and down. I thought Gino was going to get crackin’,” Kevin Garnett said of the bearded dancer in the disco victory video he adopted like a favorite toy during his six years as a Celtic. Beyond that notable absence, though, Garnett was lost in the affection of his former public, from the sea of No. 5 and No. 34 jerseys in the Garden to a wildly emotional crowd. They cheered his first basket, a dunk, and then almost in unison hesitated, realizing that they might have gone too far. But no. There was no such thing as going too far last night. Surviving the emotion was the biggest challenge, even if Garnett punctured the crowd with 17 seconds left when he stole a Rajon Rondo pass and led the slowest fast break in history to seal Brooklyn’s 85-79 win over the Celtics. Garnett let out a long exhale before trying to sum up the night. “This was over the top. The only thing that comes to mind is unbelievable,” he said. “I didn’t expect anything like that for myself. It shows the type of organization this is. I couldn’t put it into words. Paul and I were joking before the game about who was going to tear up first, and I had lumps in my throat. I tried to focus as much as I could on the game, but this was over the top. I couldn’t put that into words.” The basketball, by comparison, was a slow blur. “It took me two days to get the layup,” he laughed. “A lot of distraction, but they were good distractions. It felt good to be showered, and for the city to show their appreciation, man. You give yourself, and people say players can be too loyal, I don’t believe it. A city like Boston is worth it, and tonight’s the epitome of that.” Almost in the same breath, Garnett said last night was more of a challenge than the first time he returned to Minnesota as a Celtic, though those circumstances were far different. Garnett was injured and bitter about how his time in Minnesota ended. He stayed back in the visitors locker room and didn’t play in the game. Last night was, instead, a flash of warm light, complete with a video tribute that culminated in Garnett’s immortal shout the night the Celtics beat the Lakers for the 2008 NBA title — “Anything is POSSIBLLLLLLE!!” Not even the Celtics’ finest playoff moments, including Game 6 against the Lakers, could match last night in terms of sheer affection.
Emotional tribute rekindles Kevin Garnett’s love for Green
Boston Herald | Jan 27