Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have a special history together. They go back….way back, further back than most of us knew or realized. After spending a historic evening together at the TD Garden Wednesday night, moving into the 15th and 20th spot respectively in all-time NBA scoring, Pierce and Garnett took time after the game yesterday to reflect on their place in NBA history, their past together and the records they continue to break. It was some heartfelt commentary and stories from both players and here it is; unfiltered.
Pierce on passing Barkley for 20th all-time in points: “I just come here night in and night out and do the things I do to make history. I’m happy. And when you pass a guy like (Charles) Barkley, one of the greatest players that ever played the game, says a lot.”
Garnett on passing Jerry West for 15th all-time in points: On his accomplishment: “I’m flattered to be honest. When they told me I passed Wes Unseld I was at a loss for words. You guys have no idea what I was like as a kid. I didn’t have all the magazines but for some reason I had all the pictures that were in the magazines. I don’t know how I was able to acquire that. That’s another story. I just fantasized, mimicked, appreciated – all the things that a young kid does when he’s creating heroes, when he’s creating stories in his head. Anything to generate any time of motivation. I guess at times to generate a distraction. Anytime I used it for inspiration through a hard day. So when you guys are telling me that I’m surpassing somebody that I used for these different reasons, it’s another form of feeling. It’s another form of emotion. Someday I’ll probably sit back and actually think about and it’ll probably mean something, but the one word I just keep thinking about is that I’m flattered. Because without those people, those players who’ve created our history, made our league what it is – for younger guys like myself to follow in the path, it wouldn’t be no Kevin Garnetts, it wouldn’t be any of the yesteryears, so I’m flattered.
Pierce on the benefits of passing Barkley: “I think I’m going to appreciate it because…it’s Charles Barkley. You know what I’m saying? He always talks a lot of smack about us, so I’m happy that was him.”
Pierce on if it means something to do it on a night that KG also passed Jerry West: “It’s an honor just being out there with Kevin. It feels like at this point Kevin is passing somebody every other night. It’s like every other game right now we’re standing up and giving him an ovation. It just goes to show you about his longevity, his hard work, him being one of the greats, and continuing to do it on a consistent basis.”
Pierce on KG’s unselfishness and how that’s reflected in his numbers: “Kevin could accomplish anything he ever wanted to do because he has that will, that determination. For him to be where he’s at is pretty remarkable because it’s more than just scoring – he’s tops in so many other categories that it’s unbelievable. He’s a once-in-a-generation type of player. Not a lot of people get a chance to play with that type of player so I’m fortunate that I’ve been able to play with him in these last five, six years. It’s been an honor to watch him each and every day – how he prepares, how he comes to work every day, his approach – is something we all can learn from.”
Garnett on him and Pierce breaking another record: “We make a joke around here that every other two days someone’s making history. It’s not a bad joke to be a part of, though.”
Garnett on what it’s like to see Pierce accomplish what he’s accomplished: “What you all don’t know is that Paul and I have history and it’s only right that we come in here and we make history together. 13, 14, tearing up his Mom’s living room, breaking vases, almost getting ass whooped, first time I ever experienced Crenshaw on a Sunday – for you all that don’t know what Crenshaw on a Sunday is, Crenshaw on a Sunday is a big deal – Crenshaw on a Sunday taking me out being 15, 16 years old. Then finally being able to follow our dreams, McDonalds, having some duration together, trying to go to the same school then obviously going different paths then finally meeting up here in Boston, winning a championship, doing the things we’ve been doing since we’ve been here. 20,000 points, surpassing people we watched when we grew up and everything, obviously idolizing – it’s special. It’s best to do it with a personal friend. Not just a teammate but a real friend. Someone that knows you, knows your family, knows where you come from and vice versa. Knows the things that motivate you and push you. I always tell people I’ve got the greatest seat in the house to watch one of the best players in NBA history put the ball in the basket every night. It’s special to be able to do it with him.”
Doc Rivers on the team’s reaction to Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett’s milestones tonight: “Well I think they’re tired of it. It just feels like every game we’re clapping. It feels like one of those two, or JET, somebody’s passing something. Every night. No, they make a joke of it but it’s really cool. When you pass a (Charles) Barkley and a (Jerry) West, those names – that’s pretty impressive. I mean, Kevin just passed The Logo. When you think of it in those terms it’s pretty remarkable what he’s doing.”
Doc Rivers on whether the milestones mean a lot to Garnett and Pierce: “I don’t think they know. Kevin, you will never know, because he won’t let you. And Paul, it’s a little, but I think they take it in stride. Maybe that’s why they’re so good; I think it’s what they expect. I don’t think, like if one of us in this room passed Jerry West we’d be having a party after the game tonight. But to them, I think it’s part of their journey.”