The Minnesota Timberwolves officially re-introduced Kevin Garnett at a press conference in the Target Center skyway on Tuesday, and there was no shortage of KG quips, and of course, that big, bright smile.
"I figured if LeBron can go home, then, sh--, why can't I?" Garnett said as he re-introduced himself to the crowd next to head coach and President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders.
Photos: KG back in Wolves uniform
Garnett began reminiscing about Saunders' children (they were quite young the last time he was wandering the Wolves' office.) Now grown, one is an operations assistant and another an assistant coach, and he simply couldn't believe it, beaming at his old coach.
Before last week's announcement that Garnett would be coming back to Minnesota where his career began, rumors swirled of a reunion with former Celtics head coach Doc Rivers in Los Angeles, but The Big Ticket said he didn't want to waive his no-trade clause for just anyone.
"If I was going to waive my no-trade situation, it would be just for this," he said.
He made clear he knows these are his declining days as an athlete -- he will be 39 in May, after all -- but he's here because he sees a lot of potential on the Wolves' young roster that includes Ricky Rubio, Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, Gorgui Dieng, Shabazz Muhammad and Anthony Bennett -- all under 25.
"This is about the most talent on this team since it has been assembled," he said. "Seeing the talent on here, it's refreshing."
His homecoming hasn't been without its struggles, however. Garnett said he was a bit discombobulated on the roads and noted how much Minneapolis has changed, even as he heads west of the metro toward one of the homes he kept. Most of all, he's happy to be warmly received by his fans.
"The fans and the people have always been great to me, they've been great to my family," he said. (He's also aware Torii Hunter is returning to the Twins and said he'd give him a call.)
Garnett knows how to work a crowd. He offered several media members a warm hello and was polite answering questions. He noted he didn't leave for Boston in 2007 on the highest note. As he answered questions about forging relationships and rebuilding old ones, he mentioned he has gained a lot of patience as he raises his young daughters, and said he applies that knowledge when working with his teammates. Has he garnered enough patience to coach? "Hell, nah."
"A coach? Hell, no. A coach is what I won't be, you can't talk me into that," Garnett laughed.
"That's a big H-E-L-L N-A-H. Not a no, but a NAH."
He does, however, have other ideas in Minnesota.
"At some point, I want to understand ownership and try to get into that and bring a championship to this city. That's been my goal since I became a Wolf."
"If you ever have a story or a fairy tale, this is the way to do it. This is the perfect ending for it," he said.
An additional 1,000 seats were made available at www.timberwolves.com/wolvestix.