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Kevin Garnett (AP)

Kevin Garnett is something of a basketball monk, offering trinkets of wisdom in every press conference. So when he sat down for a long interview with Brooklyn Nets writer Lenn Robbins, he was no different.

Garnett discussed a wide range of topics with Robbins, including fatherhood, retirement, mentorship, and his relationship to basketball, which he calls his "spinal cord."

Some snippets of the interview:

Sam Mitchell, his former Minnesota Timberwolves teammate when Garnett came into the league in 1995 as the No. 5 pick overall, was his primary professional mentor.

“He was always professional," said Garnett. “He was confident in who he was. He was a leader. He didn’t follow. True leaders can look at themselves and say they messed up or they weren’t perfect but they gave everything. They cared. They cared, man.

“I have a father somewhere. I don’t know anything about him. But when I think about what I want a father to be, when I think about what a grown man should be, those are the things I think about."

It is Garnett’s willingness to evaluate himself and ask questions of the world that has as much to do with his success as his 6-11, 253-pound frame and God-given athletic talent.

Whether it’s basketball, or his love for the Chelsea Football Club, or his thoughts on being an African-American male role model, Garnett is never satisfied with a superficial assessment.

He could walk away from the game at his choosing without any thought of the NBA’s future, but that would be the ultimate contradiction. Garnett has constantly referred to his game as a craft, a craft that must be perpetuated.

“I can’t help Mason if Mason is not receptive to light," said Garnett. “Dark is stagnation. Life is movement. And I live by that.

“If you’re not open to change, if you’re not open to getting better and really being about it whole heartedly, I don’t see anything progressing. If a plant doesn’t take in light, it doesn’t grow. It doesn’t grow at all. And I teach them that."

...

Garnett made this clear. He is not pondering retirement, nor has he started to sketch out a role that will allow him to help the young NBA players that want guidance to become stars on the court and solid men off it.

“We have business here," he said. “There will be time to address those thoughts. But I think it’s essential. I don’t know what capacity it will be, but it’s needed, dude."

Full interview below.

Brooklyn Nets -- Garnett Talks About Winning a Title in Brooklyn, Derek Jeter and Life after the NBA

 

Yup, that's Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez hanging out during Nets practice, firing off three-pointers while barely leaving the ground. He hit two of three, which is totally a big enough sample size, and I fully expect to see him shooting threes at a Chris Bosh-esque rate next season.

The bigger point: Lopez is getting enough lift off his feet to shoot three-pointers without a walking boot. After fracturing a bone in his right foot to end his season in December and getting additional surgery on his left ankle in March, that's a good sign for his future.

Via Newsday's Rod Boone on Instagram

 

Billy King, Jason Kidd (AP)

Billy King, Jason Kidd (AP)

In an interview with NBA TV host and former New York Knicks general manager Isaiah Thomas, Nets general manager Billy King discussed his team, most prominently his decision to hire Jason Kidd as head coach.

King also discussed Lawrence Frank's re-assignment to "daily reports," removing Frank from the sideline, saying that the re-assignment was his (King's) idea.

"In order for him to be successful, I had to make a decision. And so I said, 'let's re-assign him,'" King told Thomas. "He does give us a report, I got it this morning, he's helping from afar. But I believe in Jason. So to give him the ability to be successful, we had to make that decision."

King added, as he has before, that he wanted someone he felt confident would lead, and when Kidd was brought up, he was initially resistant. But after a talk with Kidd and King's mentor, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, King felt comfortable with the hire.

"The one thing I knew is that I wanted a leader," King said. "Because most people look for guys who (do) X's-and-O's, great, but if you can't lead, the X's-and-O's doesn't work. So I knew I was looking for a leader."

"He believed in himself," King later added of Kidd. "And that's biggest to me. When he walks into a room, there's confidence. He talked to the players, there's confidence. He went at KG, KG went back, he went back at him, he went at Paul, so he wasn't afraid to challenge guys. That to me showed he was going to be a good coach. In this league, you've got a Hall-of-Famers in KG & Paul Pierce, 19 years, 16 years, and you challenge them in front of the rest of the team, they're going to believe, okay, this guy's for real."

King also trusted in himself to build a roster for Kidd. "I love to make trades. That's the one thing I love to do. Having a coach like Jason, he knows what he needs to win now. So I said 'I look forward to this offseason with you, because now there are guys you're gonna want, and we can go get, that I know that you'll make them successful because you'll believe in them and they'll believe in you.'"

Full interview below.

NBA.com -- Billy King Interview

 

Jason Collins

Jason Collins (AP)

Nets center Jason Collins was named one of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of the year 2014, after becoming the first openly gay male athlete in one of the four professional US sports this year.

His bio in TIME, penned by presidential daughter and his Stanford classmate Chelsea Clinton, lauded his integrity:
... MORE →

 

Shaun Livingston, Jeremy Lin

Shaun Livingston (right) (AP)

Brooklyn Nets guard Shaun Livingston garnered two second-place votes and five third-place votes in the NBA's voting for Most Improved Player, the league announced today. The voting tally gave him 11 points in the vote, which ranked him 12th overall.

No regular Nets beat writers or commentators gave Livingston one of their three votes, but Livingston caught the eye of some notable names: NBA commentators Marv Albert and Mike Breen each gave Livingston a third-place vote, as did NBA Hall of Famer and Hawks color commentator Dominique Wilkins. No other Nets player earned a vote.

Livingston averaged 8.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 26 minutes per game for the Nets this season, setting career-highs in games, games started, minutes played, points, rebounds, and steals. His insertion into the starting lineup at the turn of the new year helped change the complexity of Brooklyn's starting lineup, turning them from a 10-21 laughingstock into the league's best team at forcing turnovers.

Goran Dragic ran away with the vote, earning 65 of a possible 126 first-place votes from sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. He beat out Lance Stephenson, Anthony Davis, and Gerald Green.

More on Shaun Livingston: Shaun Livingston, standing out by fitting in

 

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Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett has played 39 minutes in the first two games. (AP)

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In a five-point loss to the Toronto Raptors, it's easy to point fingers at a lot of small things: the Nets didn't execute well, they didn't rebound well, and they missed shots in crunch time as the Raptors sealed the 100-95 victory.
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In crunch time in the fourth quarter, it looked like Paul Pierce was set to take over again.
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The Nets lost a close battle in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference playoffs, dropping a 100-95 loss to the Toronto Raptors in Toronto and tying the series at one game apiece.
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DeMar DeRozan; Andray Blatche

DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors to a Game 2 win. (AP)

Hello! Thank you for your continued support of The Brooklyn Game. We've had an amazing season here at TBG, and you the fan are as good as it gets. If you've liked what you've read this year, join the movement and check out some gear at The Brooklyn Game Store. Your support keeps us pushing through the playoffs. Thanks!

Here's a brief recap of Tuesday night's festivities.
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