What's Buzzing:

Ball Don't Lie

Kevin Garnett is ready to die for the Celtics

Eric Freeman
Ball Don't Lie

View photo

.

Kevin Garnett fends for his life (Jim Rogash/ Getty).

Calling Boston Celtics star Kevin Garnett an intense athlete is like calling water wet or salt salty. There have been few players in the history of the league as committed as Garnett, and that passion shows in pretty much everything he does on the basketball court. In a sport where players need any edge they can get to be successful, Garnett always seems to have a psychological advantage.

[Related: Celtics know they're in for a fight after Sixers even series ]

That's so much the case, in fact, that it sometimes seems as if he takes things too seriously. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that he considers his devotion to the Celtics as a matter of life and death. From an interview with WEEI in Boston, as transcribed by Sports Radio Interviews (via SLAM):

How tired he was at the end of the game against the 76ers:

"I'd die out here if I had to and that's real talk. I've been doing this for a long time and ways where I know how to conserve energy and get 'em at free-throw lines and when guys are shooting free throws, those are valuable seconds for me. When I train in the summer I train for a lack of, and when I say that, I mean rest. I program my body to recover as quickly as it can. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I'm a cerebral player these days and I know how to buy myself time on pick-and-rolls and stuff like that, things that you don't see when you're in your seat and it helps me."

KG's answer is generally about staying fresh as he ages, but the dying comment nevertheless provides a telling picture of how he approaches the game. For KG, it's not simply a matter of wanting things more, but that what he's doing is actually about staying alive. Basketball becomes something that encompasses his whole life, not just his job or an issue of effort.

Players exaggerate emotions all the time, but KG stands out for seeming as if he legitimately believes the hyperbole of talking trash. The things he says aren't what gives him his edge. It's that he buys into them instead of treating them as mind games.

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
David Stern wants to stop flopping in the NBA; What can be done?
Michigan president admits hiring Rich Rodriguez was a bad move
Shine: Beach volleyball star Kerri Walsh-Jennings almost lost out on Olympic dream

View Comments (81)
  • Australia's Penny Taylor set to retire at end of WNBA season

    Australian star Penny Taylor is calling it a career. The 35-year-old tells The Associated Press she will retire from playing basketball at the end of the WNBA season. Lately, Taylor's body has been breaking down a bit, starting with a torn ACL … More »

    AP - Sports - 3 minutes 13 seconds ago
  • Swimming - Two Russians launch appeal against Rio ban

    Swimming - Two Russians launch appeal against Rio ban

    By Mitch Phillips RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Russian swimmers Vladimir Morozov and Nikita Lobintsev have launched an appeal against the ruling banning them from next month's Rio Olympic Games even though they have never failed a doping test. The … More »

    Reuters - 5 minutes ago
  • Russian table tennis trio take deep breath reaching Rio

    With Russia caught in the grip of a doping scandal, just getting to the Rio Olympics was a victory of sorts for the country's table tennis players Polina Mikhailova, Maria Dolgikh and Alexander Shibaev. "It was in Moscow, the next morning we had a … More »

    Reuters - 6 minutes ago
  • Ibrahimovic scores spectacular goal on Man United debut

    Ibrahimovic scores spectacular goal on Man United debut

    By Philip O'Connor STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Zlatan Ibrahimovic netted a superb goal just four minutes into his Manchester United debut and promised that there would be much more to come after they thrashed Turkish side Galatasaray 5-2 in a friendly in … More »

    Reuters - 6 minutes ago
  • Two Russians swimmers launch appeal against Rio ban

    Two Russians swimmers launch appeal against Rio ban

    By Mitch Phillips RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Russian swimmers Vladimir Morozov and Nikita Lobintsev have launched an appeal against the ruling banning them from next month's Rio Olympic Games even though they have never failed a doping test. The … More »

    Reuters - 8 minutes ago