Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Kevin Garnett on the Brotherhood

(interview courtesy of adidas)


THE THEME OF THE CAMPAIGN IS BROTHERHOOD, WHAT DOES BROTHERHOOD REALLY MEAN TO YOU?
Brotherhood is having a friend or a teammate or someone that you look at like a brother and really, really believe that and solidify that with not just what you say but how you treat them, how you interact, the loyalty you have for them, all that, solidify the brotherhood to me.

DO YOU THINK BEING A BROTHER IS MORE THAN JUST BEING A TEAMMATE? AND IF SO, HOW WOULD THAT BE?
I definitely believe that being a brother is probably more sense of brotherhood more than having a teammate. You know, you can have a teammate, but when you have a brother, you know the ins and outs of them, their favorite color, things they like to do, the similarities between the two, the differences between the two of you, when you have a brother, it's more detailed. Teammates could be anybody; brothers are more solidified in detail.

BROTHERHOOD IS MENTORING, COACHING, TEACHING. IT'S NOT JUST ON THE COURT, IT'S NOT JUST OFF THE COURT; IT'S A COMBINATION. WHO WERE THE PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE THAT WERE YOUR, QUOTE, UNQUOTE, BROTHERHOOD?
My boys were, Pugs been my best friend since we's four, and if I can think of any kind of brotherhood that I have, it would be with my friends. We don't consider ourselves friends; we consider ourselves brothers. When we see each other, we hug, you know. When we speak to each other, it's from the heart and sincere; it's purity. You know, friends or associates sometimes follow on the act of, you know, occasional hey, speaking, keeping moving. Brothers are a way of life, you know? You see that person, you talk to that person on occasions, and you know, they come into your home, you come into their home; there's a lot more detail.

A LOT OF PEOPLE LOOK AT THE NBA AND THEY THINK GUYS ARE KIND OF OUT FOR THEMSELVES. I NOTICED WHEN YOU CAME IN AND YOU SAW DWIGHT FOR THE FIRST TIME, YOU CONGRATULATED ON HIM HIS NEW DEAL. CAN YOU KIND OF TALK ABOUT THE THINGS THAT PEOPLE DON'T SEE THAT MAKES THE LEAGUE MORE OF A BROTHERHOOD INSTEAD OF JUST A BUNCH OF INDIVIDUALS?
Well, I feel like in this league we have a lot of followers. We have younger players that it's very, very important to show them that or at least be a good example. I feel like there's not enough good examples on how it should be. First there's the part of it, and me congratulating Dwight and Chauncey on their new deals, and you know, hoping for the best for their futures, not just with economics, but with health and family.
By me doing that, it's a good example for them. You know, they probably look at me, and Chauncey knows me personally for a long time. He knows that I don't really deal with a lot of different people, but as I get older and probably a lot more mature, you know, I don't have a problem expressing how I feel about someone. I've had veterans in the past, you know, congratulate me from when I made different accomplishments. So it's no different from how someone once treated me. So, you know, when it comes to Dwight and those guys I just want them to know that as a person, an opponent that plays against you, I still got love for you. You know, and I am genuinely happy for you.

IT'S NOT ABOUT “ME, ITS ABOUT WE.” I KNOW YOU'RE A GUY WHO BELIEVES IN THIS. CAN YOU TELL US WHY?
Well, I really, honestly, I know that out of all the accomplishments I made in the league, I couldn't have done that without the other four guys, the other guys on the bench, or whatever. You know, when you’re successful and you're just so happen to be the one that gets the attention for the success, you know, a lot comes with that, and that's responsibility. But I've never once, you know, I'm 31 years old, I never once put myself above the team. Everybody wants to be the superstar, but don't really understand what comes with that, and what comes with that is appreciation for the other guys and respect for the other guys. You know, yeah, you set the tone; you're the example in which they follow, but at the end of the day, those guys make you better, just like you make them better.

CAN YOU GIVE US A STORY ABOUT WHEN YOU CAME IN THE LEAGUE OR RECENTLY WHERE THE IDEA OF BROTHERHOOD CAME INTO PLAY?
I have a couple stories. The one that sticks out is one time we were having plane trouble, and we had a back to back. We had a game the next night, and at the time, Flip was our coach, and he was trying to figure out a way to get everybody calm, because we were starting to not panic, but, you know, we're in the playoff race where games are probably even more important . So, I took everybody and I said, “hey.” I made a phone call, spent my own money and got us a plane, but just for the players.

I got A through Z, from the 15th man all the way up to myself; we got us on the plane. We flew to Seattle and won the game from Seattle and then we took the plane and went home that night. And I was very respectful of the coaches, but I told Flip that, you know, if he wanted to, he was welcome to, obviously, jump on the plane, but I'm going to take the 15 guys and we're going to get on this plane, we're going to win this game tomorrow, and we did, and we're going to go home the next night.

I just remember Mad Dog's face and the whole bunch of different teammates that were standing out, and they was, like, this is how you do it here. Like, I can just see how they looked at me. It wasn't about anything else. At that point then, nothing mattered to me but those guys and their health and their well-being. I didn't want us to be at fault, so I wanted us to be together. I wasn't going to have, you know, four or five of us fly and be over here. I took the whole team.

And we had steak and potatoes and everything that you can dream of that could be on the plane; they had it real lavished and laid back and had video games on the plane; it was beautiful. I just remember everybody's face and how they was looking at me like, wow. You know, that's the story that sticks out to me when I think of brotherhood. It's kind of a lavish story, but it's a story that I look at that, you know, the last person on our team he didn't leave me out, or you know, he included me. I really feel like, you know, KG's my brother. That's one of the stories that stick out to this day.

ALL SIX OF YOU ARE ALL-STARS; ALL SIX OF YOU ARE SUPERSTARS. YOU COULD EASILY LOOKOUT ONLY FOR YOURSELVES, WHY DON’T YOU? WHY DO YOU TAKE THE IDEA OF BROTHERHOOD TO HEART?
I feel like how you treat others is really your personality. I never get into what somebody else is doing. I've always had a hard enough time dealing with what I do and keeping up with that. But, you know, my demeanor and my personality is to make everybody comfortable. I've been the youngest amongst older guys and been hazed and, you know, kicked around. My first day in camp, man, I got into about two or three fights.
I was just tested from that day throughout the camp, and I'll never forget after that first day I was so livid and hot and I was just like, you know, really feeling isolated. I can remember the third day of camp getting into these altercations and stuff. Matter of fact, right after the camp we had our first game against Milwaukee, and Sam Mitchell and Doug West was hazing me and giving me a hard time.

I'll never forget playing in a game and somebody had did something to me, Sam Mitchell was the first person to jump up and say something and got in the dude's face, and that sort of took me back a little bit to, like, yeah, okay, they do got my back. It just solidified for me that, you know, okay, fine. That was the example set right then and there like I don't care how much you fight amongst each other, we hit this floor, we are out here together, and if not, you take that jersey off and get the hell up out of here. I've been cool with that every year I been in the NBA.

LET'S FOCUS ON THE CAMPAIGN. TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU'VE DONE IN THE CAMPAIGN AND HOW THAT HAS KIND OF FED INTO THE BROTHERHOOD IDEA.
I'm the glue that keeps it all together if you will. If I was to take a position in this whole brotherhood with Timmy, Chauncey, those being the ring leaders, Mac, Gil and Dwight being, the crazy talent and the most skilled talent, I'm the glue.

Out of this whole thing I don't consider myself a vocal person, but I will speak up when I need to. Chauncey's probably one of the leaders here; he's a natural leader; I know him, but he's not as vocal as I am. So knowing that he has the expertise in winning, him and Timmy, that they’re going to speak when they have to, keeping everybody loose, understanding what we got to do here. We play with the kids, and I just basically, you know, said a couple of things to let them know why we're here. We're going to have some fun, but at the same time, let's get something done, and that's my role here. My role here is to make sure everybody's not only relaxed and understand what's to be done, but at the same time to enjoy it and mess around a little bit.

Because the kids looking at us, like we were stars in the sky, I was just trying to, you know, get them to understand that we was once like you being young, so this is a dream. If you have anything you want to say, if you've got anything you want to ask, ask it. I guess I look at myself in this whole campaign as confidence, because the kids they really don’t know how to go up to Gil and say, "Hey, Gil, I mean, I love your game, you know?" You know, so many kids not only have the ego, but they don't know how to actually approach somebody. So I was like, hey, Gil, this is such and such. You know, he likes your game. And then you'll see Shorty open up like, “Yeah, you know, I live in such and such, and I watch you all the time.” So I'm the glue.

YOU HAVE DONE A NUMBER OF COMMERCIALS OVER YOUR CAREER. DO YOU FIND IT'S MORE FUN TO COME TO A COMMERCIAL LIKE THIS WHERE YOU HAVE MULTIPLE GUYS TO WORK WITH AND HANG OUT WITH, OR DO YOU FIND THAT THE INDIVIDUAL ONES ARE MORE APPEALING?
Individual ones are actually the hardest. Having guys of this caliber and different guys that have actually succeeded in this league and done some major things in this league makes it easy on me. If anything, I look at Timmy and Chauncey, you know, for guidance in this whole thing. Mac and I, we share a common bond in trying to get out of the first round and trying to do different things in the playoffs. So in a way, they're like our vets in this whole thing. But I'll take the group over the individual, because it's a lot more relaxed, and it's a lot more fun, to be honest with you.

ON THIS SHOOT, WAS THERE ANYTHING THAT HAPPENED, ANYTHING FUNNY THAT MAY HAVE HAPPENED THAT MAY NOT HAVE BEEN CAUGHT ON CAMERA?
I'm going to tell you something. I've been in the league a long time; this is my 13th year coming up. Out of all the commercials I've done, this is by far the most fun I've ever had in shooting a commercial. This don't even really feel like no commercial. The fact that the little kids was hungry kids, not just a bunch of kids that we cast and they told them what to do. No, they treated these kids like real campers. These kids had no idea what they were getting into. The fact that you had the guys - Chauncey, Timmy, Gil, Dwight and Mac - coming in here and opening up, being really, really vocal, social, this is, hands down, the best campaign I've been a part of. I'm just honored to be here, to be honest with you. I've had the most fun in these last three days in shooting this than I have in a long, long time.

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