Q & A: Boston's Big Three

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We've seen this act before. Talented players thrown together on the same team, quick fixes. So often it fails. Why has this worked so far?
Ray Allen: First and foremost, it only works when you have guys who have been on teams that have struggled. The three of us have carried teams in the past, and the only thing we need to prove is that we want to win a championship.
Kevin Garnett: We've all played on lesser teams. But we've also played with some premier players. And the way it works is that you have to make sacrifices. And I think that the three of us are willing to make major sacrifices.
Paul Pierce: We looked at each other, eye to eye, and said, "Hey, somehow, someway, we've gotta make this work." So once we dropped our egos, on Day One in September, that's when it started.

You'd think it would be harder to do when you're younger, because you're concerned with individual statistics.
Allen: We still have egos. But if we were in our early 20s and Paul came down and shot three in a row, I might be thinking, The fourth shot is mine. I'm in a great place in my life. I don't at any point think like that. I just keep saying, "Let's keep going to Paul. They can't stop him." Before, I woulda been like, Where am I in the context of this offense? Pierce: When you are young, you are trying to secure yourself for the rest of your life. You look at us three-we've made millions of dollars. We've won tons of awards. So we look at each other and say, 'Hey, what's left to do?'

Kevin forgot his shoes for the photo shoot. You couldn't spot a size 15 shoe hanging around your house for the photo?
Garnett: Actually, I didn't really think that my feet were going to be in any shots.
Allen: He didn't want to bring those shoes. And tell him this too. We play so much, are on our feet so many nights, that when we go to a restaurant, I take my shoes off.
Garnett: He don't wear socks either.
Allen: I keep my socks on, but I'm just saying you might look under the table and I don't have shoes on. Paul don't wear no socks.

Changing subjects ... your team has developed a kind of catchphrase, ubuntu. Explain what that's all about.
Allen: In Africa it's a phrase, a way of life that people subscribe to. Meaning community, people building all they want and supporting each other, and being of one. We always say it, jokingly sometimes. If somebody walks into a room and they have one plate of food, Paul will be like, "Way to ubuntu."
Pierce: "That's not ubuntu. I need a plate!"

As I understand it, you were all big Los Angeles Lakers fans growing up. Now be honest. Did you hate the Celtics?
Pierce: I hated the Celtics. Hated them.

Who was your least favorite Celtic? Now be honest.
Pierce: [Current Celtics general manager] Danny Ainge! He was just always that guy who got up under the players' skin and always tried to pick a fight. Just real feisty. I was the one guy who was like, "Man, tell him to stop!"
Allen: Danny was a whiner.

And Kevin, you didn't like Kevin McHale, your old GM in Minnesota?
Garnett: McHale, man, he would always get a bucket at the wrong time. He would trick somebody with the up and under, and it was like, "Awww, man."
Allen: And you'd look at him run back down the court, you'd call him Frankenstein.
Garnett: His shoulders never moved!

You guys aren't afraid to tick off your old bosses—or your current bosses.
Garnett: Nah, I don't mind at all.

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