And it wasn't Kevin Garnett.
It was his turn in 2008, when the Boston forward who had never won a title announced his championship arrival to the world on television with that very question after his Celtics downed the Lakers in the NBA Finals. It was Daniel Artest this time, the brother of the league's former Public Enemy, Ron Artest, speaking for him over and over as he yelled that question to anyone who would listen on the Staples Center floor Thursday night.
"What can they say now?!" Daniel yelled between hugs with his family members and Kobe Bryant's father, Joe. "What can they say now?!"
Ron-Ron saved Kobe Bryant again, saved the Lakers again. He steered clear of the Bill Buckner route in their 93-89 Game 7 win and pulled off one of the most astounding reputation rectifications in league history.
They can always say that he made colossal mistakes -- the most obvious, the 2004 brawl in Auburn Hills that derailed Indiana's titles hopes and sent his career careening -- but even he has been saying that for years now. He admitted that much again during a postgame press conference that more than lived up to his zany ways, saying how he feels "like a coward" in the presence of former Pacers players and executives because of what he did.
But no one, perhaps not even Artest, saw his path leading from coward to champion. Not in Sacramento, where he was jettisoned in the post-brawl fallout. Not in Houston, where he and the Rockets challenged the Lakers in last season's playoffs but few, if any, saw them ever enjoying a scene like this.
His kids did snow angels on the Staples Center floor, with purple and gold confetti substituted for the white stuff after his family group of nine had to sneak past security to join the most ebullient Laker. They stayed with him in the locker room, where he stood with his arm around his wife, Kimsha, drenched in champagne.
"I wish I could scream louder," he yelled with a voice that was nearly gone.
He had made plenty of noise already.
Above all else, it was his 20 points, five steals and one dominating defensive performance against Paul Pierce that kept Boston from bouncing out of Hollywood with a stolen trophy. The Celtics' small forward had obliterated Artest and the Lakers' defense for a potent 27 points in Sunday's Game 5 in Beantown. Bryant was out of rhythm almost all night, tallying 23 points on 6-of-24 shooting with four turnovers.
But Artest kept the Black Mamba's legacy from being snake-bit. His furious final stretch started near the two-minute mark of the fourth quarter, when Pierce drove past him in the lane and Artest palmed his seemingly open floater from behind and forced a turnover.
Pau Gasol muscled his double-clutch layup through three Celtics for a 76-70 Lakers lead, only to see it cut to three with 1:23 left when Bryant's closeout on Rasheed Wallace beyond the arc didn't come quickly enough.
Then came Artest's sweet irony, a pass from the double-teamed Bryant up top to Artest on the right wing, a chance at the sort of three-pointer Lakers coach Phil Jackson had always begged him not to take. He quickly, confidently, jab-stepped right, putting Pierce on his heels for just a blink, then rose up and buried the shot that pushed the lead to six and made up for his 1-for-6 three-point shooting to that point.
He would discuss the significance of that play afterward, (video below) after the Wheaties moment and the inclusion of nine family members and announcement that he couldn't wait to get to the club. He remembered how Bryant was questioned for his one-man show approach in Game 5, then chronicled how that threat to this title run was so quickly fixed.
Yet, as is so often the case with Artest, the hidden gems he occasionally shares were lost in the hilarity of his persona (which included his repeated thanks to his sports psychologist for helping him stay focused in the most crucial of moments).
"What you saw in Boston (was that) Kobe wanted to win," Artest said. "People were saying, 'Kobe's not passing' -- blah, blah. But Kobe wanted to win and he didn't know if he could win, probably, with us playing at that time.
"(In Game 7) you saw a determined Kobe Bryant, Black Mamba, two-four, who wanted to win, but it wasn't with the team."
At least, Artest explained, not until the end.
"Late in the second half he started to move the ball and attack and pass and still was Kobe Bryant," he continued. "He trusted us and he made us feel so good. He made us feel so good, and he passed me the ball. He never passes me the ball."
Having cajoled the stoic media members on hand to liven up a bit at the start of his dynamic diatribe, Artest at that point sparked widespread laughter.
"Kobe passed me the ball and I shot a three, and Phil didn't want me to shoot the three," Artest said in exasperation. "I could hear him. And he's the Zen Master so he can speak to you and you don't need a microphone. You can hear him in your head, 'Don't shoot. Don't shoot.' I said, 'Whatever, pow, three, woo, yes!"
The offense was always an added bonus with Artest and this Lakers group. Yet with every unsure three or bout with over-dribbling, he had made fans and some media wonder how he should be judged if defense was his specialty again.
But Artest -- whose putback of Bryant's airball at the buzzer in Game 5 against Phoenix in the Western Conference finals changed the course of that series -- quieted anyone who thought the Lakers were better off with Trevor Ariza in his place.
That was the crux of Daniel's point, as he spent much of the season engaging Twitter battles in which he vehemently argued why his brother was a better fit for the Lakers.
What can they say now?
"Honestly, he won the game for us tonight," said the one and only Flea, resident spokesman for the Laker Nation and the bassist for the band, Red Hot Chili Peppers, who watched Artest's press conference from eight rows back with lead singer Anthony Kiedis. "I'm so happy for him. Hollywood, Schmollywood. He's a dynamic, exciting dude and I love him."