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 Garnett.
"Kevin understood he shouldn't have said some of things he said," Frank said. "We're just glad he set the record straight today."
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.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press