Slate called Kevin Garnett’s post-game interview last night (after the Celtics won the NBA championship) "the strangest post-game interview of the television era." It’s two minutes. Hilarious. Embedded below. Excerpts from Slate’s blow-by-blow at bottom.
0:00: Greeted by Tafoya, Garnett first appears to be gripped by emotions familiar to any sports fan who’s watched a championship celebration: happiness and disbelief. He presses his brand-new championship hat to his head with both hands, seemingly afraid it might come loose.
0:07: "NBA Champion—how does that sound?" Tafoya asks. Garnett is at a loss for words. After a long pause and more futzing with his new hat, he says, in a strangely even tone, "Man, I’m so, I’m so hype right now."
0:20: Garnett tells Tafoya that "anything’s possible." He then leans back and howls at the moon: "ANYTHING’S POOOOOOSSIIIIIBLLLLLLE!" He holds the note for four seconds.
0:27: At this point the catharsis gets the better of Garnett, and he begins crying. These are not the poignant tears of joy shed by Michael Jordan upon winning his first Larry O’Brien Trophy. Garnett is in the throes of something closer to a child’s tantrum, mumbling indecipherable words. Approximate translation: "Oh my buh buh, fa fa fa fa fa." He then buries his head in the shoulder of an unidentified Celtics staffer, who proceeds to say, "Yeah, baby!" repeatedly. ABC’s producers pull away for a moment, cutting to a long shot of the arena….
0:57: "This is for everybody in ‘Sota!" he bellows, a classy shout-out to the fans who supported Garnett for the first 12 years of his career. Such is the reservoir of good feeling that Garnett has built up in Boston that no fan will begrudge the Twin Cities getting top-billing in Garnett’s list of thank-yous. If Ray Allen had dedicated the Celtics win to the hardworking people of Seattle or Milwaukee, one wonders if it would have gone over quite as well….
1:06: Garnett thanks Peanut. As ABC noted in its pregame show, Garnett is very fond of peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, but this Peanut would seem to be a person. When Tafoya caught up with Garnett after Boston defeated the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals, he closed out the exchange by saying, "What up, Brand? What up, Peanut?" Brand would seem to be Brandi, Garnett’s wife. Might that make Peanut their newborn?
1:14: Garnett screams into the camera, "I made it ma! Top of the world! TOP OF THE WORLD!" That’s exactly what James Cagney’s maniacal, cackling gangster character says at the end of White Heat as he dies in a fiery explosion atop a gigantic gas tank. This explains a lot about KG’s self-image.
1:20: Tafoya, who must be complimented on her poise throughout this exchange, parlays Garnett’s screaming into a question: "What does ‘top of the world’ feel like, Kevin?" The query seems to momentarily ground Garnett, who again flirts with the normal rules of postgame interviewing, offering up some choice platitudes: "Ray Allen had a great game" and "I’m so happy right now—I’m not going to sleep for a week." Of course, since this is Kevin Garnett, the latter statement might not be hyperbole—he’s previously claimed not to have slept for four or five nights during the Pistons series.
1:37: "I’m certified! I’m certified!" Garnett bellows. This may be the first time you could mistake a newly minted NBA champion for a raving lunatic on the subway.
1:40: In a more benign re-enactment of Joe Namath’s propositioning of Suzy Kolber, Garnett says, "Michele, you look good tonight, girl." Over the course of the playoffs, the two have developed an easy rapport. After Game 1 of the Pistons series, he told Tafoya, "You look good in your pink, girl."….
The interview concludes, but the camera stays with Garnett as he turns to find Bill Russell waiting to greet him with a benevolent grin and a bear hug. In a conversation earlier this year, the 11-time champion told Boston’s new star that he would give him one of his hard-earned rings if the team failed to take it home this year. KG almost cried. Now, even the stiffest upper lip in Boston has to be quivering as Garnett and his forebear embrace. "I got one of my own," says Garnett. "I got my own." He steps back, looks at Russell, and says "I hope we made you proud."
A less weird individual might have left it at that, but Garnett has one more line for his mentor: "Now you got to tell me where to go tonight."