Kevin Garnett is good at a lot of things. Defense, rebounding, trash talking, playing with enigmatic point guards during various stages of their career, intimidating smaller European players, screaming — you name it and Kevin Garnett has probably done in in the NBA, and done it well.
But no one can be good at literally everything when it comes to the NBA. That just wouldn’t be fair. Even Michael Jordan wasn’t a great three-point shooter. So it should come as no surprise that there is something that Kevin Garnett is bad at in this league of ours. It’s just maybe a surprise that that thing is giving nicknames to rookies.
Fab Melo: “The Youngin. [He calls] everybody Youngin. Oh, and Melo. He calls me by my last name . . . He never calls me Fab. I don’t really care about that stuff. In Brazil, we don’t care. We call first name, last name, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t mind.”
Dionte Christmas: “He called me Temple (Christmas’ alma mater, Temple University). It was cool, it was alright. I respect it.”
Jared Sullinger: “Youngin.”
Jamar Smith: “He calls me something different every day – Young Fella, Youngin, ‘A.’ [He called me 'A' because] he thinks so fast, he’s always talking. He calls everybody all kind of names. He hasn’t called me by my first name yet. He knows my name. When we’re talking, when we’re in the locker room, he’ll be like, ‘Smith!’ But for the most part on the court, Youngin and Young Fella.”
Kris Joseph: “Rook, Young Fella, Youngin, three names. I’m assuming he knows my name, but those are the three names he does call me.”
There are six rookies on the Celtics’ training camp roster and four of them are called “Youngin” or something like that. One is nicknamed after where he went to college and the other is “Micah Downs” who might be made-up but would still probably be called “Youngin.” That is not very good nicknaming from one of the league’s elder statesmen.
And while it might seem weird that a guy who’s been around the NBA for 17 seasons would be basically clueless about nicknames, consider what Kevin Garnett’s been called in his career — “Da Kid,” “The Big Ticket” and “KG.” Even he hasn’t had a very good nickname. It’s a vicious cycle.
In fact, it’s so vicious that the odds are that you can guess Garnett’s various nicknames for his teammates. What follows is a list of Kevin Garnett approved nicknames for his teammates, as extrapolated from his rookie monikers.