BOSTON -- Boston Celtics center Kevin Garnett admits there are those more worthy of his starting spot in this year's All-Star game, but after being voted to his 15th trip to the midseason classic -- and after a one-year absence from the game -- the honor resonated with the 36-year-old.
"At this point in my career nothing's promised," said Garnett. "A lot of the accolades that I've acquired over the years I've always liked to thank teammates and coaches, just because without those guys -- they create the opportunity for you, so I wish I could take all of my guys with me. More importantly, you try to enjoy it. I got to always remember that it's a plus. People around me are all excited, but, like I said, at this stage of my career, I'm fortunate to even be out here giving something towards a team. I'm blessed to still be healthy and come out here and play the game that I love."
Informed of comments made by Charles Barkley and former teammate Shaquille O'Neal on TNT's broadcast that Garnett did not deserve his spot, Garnett didn't disagree.
"I don't," he said. "I think you have other guys like Joakim Noah and Tyson Chandler and everybody else who are up-and-coming and younger guys that can easily be in my position and have the opportunity to start. But that wasn't the case here."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers put it a little more bluntly: "I’ll let [Barkley and O'Neal] talk; that’s fine. Kevin’s on it. That’s all that counts. A lot of people disagree with them."
Garnett finished third in the voting in the Eastern Conference frontcourt. He'll be joined up front by Miami's LeBron James and New York's Carmelo Anthony, but again downplayed any potential for incident on the heels of his kerfuffle with Anthony earlier this month at Madison Square Garden.
"I embrace everybody -- East, West, the coaches, the coaching staff; that's what you're there for," said Garnett. "You're there to mingle and, obviously, kind of relax a little bit and be among your peers and people that you play against. I've always been one to socialize with everybody, regardless of the history with other players. I've always enjoyed that. That's why All-Star is what it is. It just gives you a chance to kind of relax and be an East or be a West, and that's what I plan on doing."
Garnett was asked if he's surprised he's still popular among voters at this stage of his career.
"I've been here for 20 years almost, I hope somebody at some point remembered something, you know?" said Garnett. "I don't know, you've been around long enough, people know the name, people know the face, people know the style. Other than that, I don't know. It's up to the individuals and their preference."
Added Garnett: "I'm appreciative, more than honored. I want to thank all the fans who voted. I'm looking forward to it."