KG visits Chelsea FC, Stamford Bridge

LONDON -- Seeing Kevin Garnett get emotional is a rare sight in the NBA. Maybe it's because basketball long since ceased to be an innocent passion and instead became his job.

However the Brooklyn Nets veteran admitted his trip to the home of EPL giants Chelsea FC reminded him of what it was like to be a kid again -- of what it was once like to meet his own NBA heroes before he came into the league straight out of high school 18 years ago.

Garnett's affection for The Blues grew out of his friendship with the club's former striker Didier Drogba, established on a previous visit to London in 2007 with the Boston Celtics.

And after getting a tour of Stamford Bridge, with the chance to hang out with current Chelsea favorites Demba Ba and Andre Schurrle, KG confessed to a touch of nerves from his visit to the team's locker room and the sight of a personalized jersey hanging up.

"It was overwhelming, I'll be honest," the 37-year-old said. "For the first time in a long time, I was a fan of something other than basketball. I enjoyed the experience. I wished it wasn't so media driven.

"I could have enjoyed it a little bit more. But it was cool to be a kid again. It was cool to have those feelings again. It was cool to see how different sport organizations do things."

Garnett came late to soccer but now has a regular circle of friends to talk trash with while following the EPL every weekend.

And he claims to appreciate the skill set involved at the highest level. "The footwork in soccer is incredible. The footwork's like no other."

Asked about the other British pursuits of rugby and cricket, however, and that is firmly a closed door. "I have no interest at this time," he confirmed.

With the Nets holding a full practice Wednesday at The 02 Arena ahead of Thursday's London showdown with the Atlanta Hawks, the focus was back on business and retaining some of the momentum acquired since 2014 began.

With injuries and the struggle to live up to past reputations, there could be some parallels drawn with the response of Garnett and Paul Pierce in Boston last season when the vets stepped up once Rajon Rondo was lost for the year.

In the case of the Nets, it remains an entirely different ball game for the 15-time All Star.

"We were our so-called best players whereas here we're more secondary and less than primaries," Garnett underlined.

"Having to step in and do primary things, if not have primary responsibilities. Coming in trying to help some of the young talent, we're all here and doing what we're supposed to do."

Atlanta, who arrived a day later than Brooklyn, traveled without DeMarre Carroll (personal reasons).