ROME -- New Celtics forward Kevin Garnett is a huge soccer fan. Following the Celtics' practice in Rome on Tuesday, the 10-time NBA All-Star talked about his love for soccer and how it began with the media.
How did you begin liking soccer?
"My best friend since I was four, we used to give him a hard time about playing. He's always kept up with it. He's always watched it. On DirecTV he has the soccer package, the Euro TV, all that stuff. He showed me a clip on You Tube when it just kicked off and he showed me the clips of Ronaldino and Christiano Ronaldo. If you look up You Tube you can see why I'm a fan and see why I'm hooked."
How did you learn the game of soccer?
"With video games you learn. It teaches you how to play, believe it or not. I finally learned what an off sides was. I've played (video games) and watched it. So now I have the patience to watch it in person."
Have you spoken to Suns guard Steve Nash about soccer?
"Nash is so good that he plays. He plays very often. I've spoken to him a couple times. He's in Phoenix. I can't bear that heat there during the summer. I told him if he's ever in L.A. playing, let me know. I'll at least give it a try."
How was the game in Los Angeles you attended to watch David Beckham's debut with the Los Angeles Galaxy over the summer?
"It was great. Steve gave me some (ribbing) about that. He said, 'You're not a true soccer fan. You're going for the hype. Let me see you at a Chivas game or something.' He gave me some (ribbing). I was actually trying to catch the game this week (Lazio versus Real Madrid in Rome on Wednesday). Obviously, we're here in for camp and that's the primary (focus). But if we get some time and I have some time and we get our hands on some tickets, than we'll check it out."
Would that be great to see the Lazio versus Rome game?
"Absolutely. I've told they live soccer or live football. It would definitely be an experience. But we're here to play basketball and focus on getting better. That's secondary."
You met Italian soccer legend Alessandro Del Piero after Monday's practice. Did you enjoy that meeting?
"Absolutely. I told him I played with you on the video game. He looked at me like I was a little kid. It's kind of cool. It's good to see athletes that appreciate each other's sport."
What is Beckham like?
"I haven't met Beckham. I just got to see him play."