Kevin Garnett has a long standing tradition of not calling rookies by their name. He’s earned that right, some feel, after having been in the NBA so long and having established himself as a grizzled veteran whose primary focus is on just winning basketball games.
Does he need to call his teammates by name for that to happen?
Only if they’ve earned the right. With so many rookies being fly-by-night NBA’ers, who come into the league only to fade out of it just as fast, Garnett has avoided giving them undue attention and hype by oh, say, using their birth names.
His go-to nickname and utility word for them is “Youngin’.”
It’s funny, because we remember the time when KG was that youngster, as a skinny 18 year old rookie in Minnesota. 16 years later, and he’s earned the right not to refer to rookies by name.
Here’s what the C’s rooks had to say regarding Garnett’s refusal to acknowledge their names:
Jared Sullinger said he simply calls him, “Youngin.”
KG simply refers to the steal of the draft as Youngin! Maybe if Sullinger earns his way to 25 minutes a game and healthy 8 & 8 production, KG will do him the favor of at least doing what he does for Dionte Christmas and refer to him by his Alma Mater. “Hey, Ohio State…”
Christmas said, “he called me Temple. It was cool, it was all right, I respect it.”
The fact that KG took enough interest to learn where an undrafted rookie who spent the last few years toiling away overseas went to school is a start, isn’t it?
It’s still better than he did for Sully, or Fab Melo, who is also referred to as “Youngin.” Melo said in addition that he has been referred to as “Melo,” but never by his first name. He said that’s just fine with him, because in Brazil they use first names and last names almost interchangeably.
Either way, you’re still “youngin’,” Melo. They’re all “youngins.”
Source: NBC Sports