Tuesday, May 18, 2004 Updated: May 19, 2:09 PM ET
Garnett apologizes for combative comments
MINNEAPOLIS -- Kevin Garnett apologized Tuesday for making
references to guns and saying he was "ready for war" in Game 7
between Minnesota and Sacramento.
"Sincerely, I apologize for my comments earlier," the
Timberwolves forward told reporters after practice. "I didn't mean
to offend anybody."
The Wolves and Kings play Wednesday night in Minneapolis for the
right to face the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference
finals. On Monday, the league's Most Valuable Player was asked
about the magnitude of a game that will decide a series marked by
trash talking and hard fouls.
"This is it," he responded. "It's for all the marbles. I'm
sitting in the house loading up the pump, I'm loading up the Uzis,
I've got a couple of M-16s, couple of nines, couple of joints with
some silencers on them, couple of grenades, got a missile launcher.
I'm ready for war."
Afterward, Garnett said he met with the team's public relations
staff and discussed his remarks.
"It was one-sided thinking on my part, but I'm man enough to
admit it," he said. Garnett specifically mentioned veterans and
families with loved ones serving in Iraq in his apology.
"I'm a young man and I understand when I'm appropriate, and
this is totally inappropriate. I was totally thinking about
basketball, not reality."
League spokesman Tim Frank said the NBA wouldn't discipline
"Kevin understood he shouldn't have said some of things he
said," Frank said. "We're just glad he set the record straight
Wolves coach Flip Saunders said Garnett used a poor choice of
words, but attributed them to his competitive nature.
"Anyone who knows him knows he has great passion for the game," Saunders said.
Point guard Sam Cassell said any sports fan would know Garnett didn't mean any harm by his comments.
"Violence is not one thing that's on his mind," Cassell said.
In Sacramento, Kings coach Rick Adelman said he told his players
to worry about themselves and not about Garnett's comments.
"I'm more worried about what he's going to do out there without
any ammunition," Adelman said.
Nevertheless, center Brad Miller -- who's sparred with Garnett at
times this series -- poked a little fun.
"I'm bringing my shotgun, my bow and arrow, my four-wheel drive
truck and four wheelers and run over him," Miller said Tuesday.
"It's going to be the ultimate battle. He's a warrior, and that's
how I like to play when I step between the lines."
Garnett has been at the center of controversy a few times this
postseason. In the first round against Denver, Nuggets forward
Francisco Elson called Garnett "gay" for hitting him in the groin during a game.
The comments drew the ire of some gay and lesbian groups and Elson issued an apology through the team.
In Game 6 against the Kings, Garnett got into a physical confrontation with Sacramento guard Anthony Peeler. After taking an elbow to the midsection from Peeler in the third quarter, Garnett retaliated by throwing his shoulder and elbow into Peeler's chest.
Peeler, a friend and former teammate of Garnett's, responded by elbowing Garnett in the face. The NBA suspended Peeler for two games Monday and fined Garnett $7,500.