With Kevin Garnett’s return to the Timberwolves serving as the biggest story — and biggest surprise — of the past week in Minnesota sports, but with KG himself not scheduled to play until Wednesday, the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand caught up with Andy Youso and Dean Priddy — a pair of fans wearing Garnett’s jersey at Friday’s 111-109 Minnesota victory over Phoenix at Target Center — to hear their reactions to the former star player coming back home:
Q From what I understand, you bought the Garnett jersey you’re wearing at a thrift store a month ago. How did you know this was going to happen?
A I guess I was always holding out hope. I remember when he first came to Minnesota and those great years. … For me, the Timberwolves have always been Kevin Garnett. So even though he wasn’t on the team, before I went to see the Pacers game, I saw the KG jersey and thought, “This has to be mine.” I got it for like four bucks, and I bet I could resell it now for 10 times that much.
Q But did you ever realistically think he would play for the Wolves again?
A Well, I remember when he won the championship with the Celtics and he gave the shout out to [Minnesota] in the “anything is possible” speech, I thought “he really likes us.” And I thought maybe when he realizes he doesn’t have to win another championship and just wants to play for us, he’d come back. With the trade deadline and rumors, I was pretty optimistic it was going to happen.
Q It seemed to pick up steam pretty quickly, didn’t it?
A It did. It was like, there was a rumor and then all the sudden it happened.
Q What do you think it will be like Wednesday to see Garnett in a Wolves uniform again? Weird? Cool?
A I think it’s going to be cool because I remember how well he worked that one year with [Sam] Cassell and [Latrell] Sprewell. I feel like we have better pieces now. I know he’s not what he was then, but he’s still a great defensive presence, and he’s going to teach these rookies how to be competitive and be a leader.
Q You’re 27 years old now. How long have you had the KG jersey you’re wearing?
A I’ve had it since I was little. I can’t even remember how long it’s been. … It was packed away in my parents’ basement in a box, and I had to dig about two feet into the box to get it.
Q Did you ever imagine Garnett would play for the Wolves again?
A No. I thought he was going to retire after this year with the Nets and be done with it. … I think this is a great move. He can work with the young guys and finish his career up here. … I think he has enough left in the tank for this year, and maybe another year after this, too.
Q How big of a Garnett fan were you back in the day?
A I was a huge KG fan. I would go to at least a couple games a year, even if we had to sit in the nosebleeds. I obviously liked him enough to get his jersey. He’s entertaining to watch.