"In the end, me and Rondo share a special bond. We’ll always be friends, we’ll always have something in common with our championship, our kids still hang out together. […] Rondo, I respect him and what he’s doing moving forward with this franchise and it will always be that way."
"I thought it was great he enjoyed his birthday. He said he wasn’t playing anyway. I enjoy my birthday every year. Mine is in the preseason. I don’t see what the big deal is about it. I think everyone is making a big issue of it… so Happy Birthday, Rondo!"
"Covering Larry - that meant everything to me. People said he was overrated … fuck, no. If anything, he was underrated. What made him so good was you didn’t just have to worry about his scoring. You had to worry about this guy’s defense, his passing, his ability to save balls from going out of bounds, his ability to set picks and get people open. Larry could beat you in many ways. And he was the hardest player for me to play against, because you had to guard against all those things. Most players are one- or two-dimensional. Larry was ten-dimensional."
"I don’t know what LeBron was thinking. He didn’t even see Bill Russell play. He has no idea what Bill Russell did. Eleven championships in 13 years? Eight in a row? LeBron isn’t going to get anywhere near that. I don’t get it. And here he didn’t want Bill Russell on his Rushmore. I think today’s players have a very limited perspective on the game."
"If you do something great, then don’t apologize to anyone. If you’re a winner, then act like one."
"He’d slap my bunk on the way out of the room in the mornings, and he’d nod at the salt or sugar during the silent meals we ate in the school cafeteria. That was the extent of our communication, until one day when he started talking like a normal person."
Kevin Garnett: I am a big brother to you.
Paul Pierce: It’s just like having a big brother with you and going through the journey. We’ve known each other since high school and we have so many stories with each other together. And if it’s going to end, if our ride is going to end in Brooklyn, I wouldn’t want it to be with nobody else.
"It was just a special thing for me, through my bad times through my immature times through my growing up becoming a man for this city and winning a championship. Everybody sticking with me, I would just like to tell them thank you."
"I think he took notes last time we were talking to him. More importantly, we stressed that you need to lead by example, even when he doesn’t want to. I also talk to him about being professional and being a pro. You don’t get to pick and choose when you get to do that. Just understand the pedigree of a champion. You don’t let losing become something usual. Keep the mentality tough, and not all are going to follow but most will. Lead by example and just having a voice, do it by example. Rondo is ready. I think he is very comfortable in his role here. I think he understood the transition when it was happening, and he has the type of mentality and he’s the type of person with the personality to do just that."
Paul Pierce: That’s probably the one last thing that we didn’t get to see that we missed.
Kevin Garnett: You know what first off I looked up and then I had to compose myself before I looked back up that’s why I was kind of putting my head down, threw my towel on, but I thought Gino was going to get crackin. Should have asked Rondo, Rondo get them to throw some Gino up tomorrow. It was all good. This a good homecoming, seriously though man.
Paul Pierce: That’s probably the only thing that wasn’t on the video, Gino. Should have had Gino. We missed Gino.
"I think he’s ready now. Rondo is mature, he understood what was coming. Before he had me and Kevin to lean on, and now he’s the guy. He’s the captain; he is who everybody looks to for leadership. And I think he’s ready. He’s grown, he’s matured. He’s seen the bottom, he’s seen the top. He’s got to understand that this is his team to lead through good and through bad. I think he understands that and he is ready for that role. And he’s ready to deal with it."
"I think we will always bleed green, as long as we’re playing basketball. As long as we’re living, even when they bury us six feet [under], it’s what it’s gonna be."
To understand how deeply those six seasons as a Celtic burrowed themselves into Garnett’s core, there was an indelible moment when the magnitude of his return impacted him on Sunday night: arriving at the Garden and seeing the Celtics longtime public relations director, Jeff Twiss.
'You come here, and Jeff takes you through the library where he shows you all the history – and you feel that responsibility,' Garnett said.
From the morning of the news conference to introduce Garnett in the summer 2007, he began probing Twiss on the lore of the Celtics history and never, ever stopped. The queries weren’t always about the Russells and Cousys, the Birds and McHales.
'He'd come to me asking: Tell me about Bailey Howell,' Twiss said Sunday night. 'Tell me about the '74 championship team. Tommy [Heinsohn] coached that team, right?'
The most forgettable Celtics – Art ‘Hambone’ Williams and Eric Fernsten – would show up in the locker room in Miami and Golden State, and Garnett would search out Twiss and want to know all about them. ‘He was really fascinated with Hambone,’ Twiss said.
‘I told Kevin this, and I still believe it: I only wish Red had been around here for Kevin. Oh, they would’ve loved each other. Red would’ve loved the way Kevin played, and Kevin would’ve sat there and listened to Red’s philosophies all day long.’