It’s been almost a month since Kevin Garnett and Atlanta Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. took some jabs at each other, but Garnett might not be over it.
Garnett was interviewed by ESPN’s Doris Burke after the Celtics’ Game 5 win on Tuesday night, and among the questions Burke asked was what fuels the veteran after 17 years in the league.
“The competition. The naysayers,” Garnett responded, before turning to the camera. “The owners who talk too much. The people who don’t think that a 36, 35-year old can do what I do. I take a lot of pride in my craft. I work really hard on my craft every day. I’m a true professional.”
Garnett’s somewhat scary stare into the camera as he referenced the “owners who talk too much” seems to indicate that he was speaking to someone in particular. Given what happened just a few weeks ago, it’s probably safe to assume the Hawks co-owner was the recipient of Garnett’s speech.
Gearon Jr. called Garnett the “dirtiest player in the league” last month while his Hawks were playing the Celtics in a first-round playoff series. He also took a jab at Boston’s age.
“We don’t get any calls, which I know everybody always hears,” Gearon said last month, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “But I’ll give you a stat. Last night, we are playing this old physical team. They are old. I know what happens when you play basketball, old guys foul. Garnett is the dirtiest guy in the league. We are playing Boston last night and they had two fouls the whole first half. We had five times that and we’re athletic.”
This clearly drew the ire of Garnett, who responded to Gearon Jr. after Boston’s closeout victory in Game 6 of that series.
“First off, I want to say thank you to the [Hawks] owner for giving me some extra gas tonight,” Garnett said upon taking the podium following that win. “My only advice to him is next time he opens his mouth, actually know what he’s talking about — X’s and O’s versus checkbooks and bottom lines.”
Clearly, Garnett is fueled by those who doubt him, and that’s something that seems to have rubbed off on the rest of the Celtics this postseason.