Kevin Garnett might just be one of the most exciting and ferocious trash-talkers and competitors in NBA history. Now with the Boston Celtics retiring his No.5 jersey soon, former Celtics player Kendrick Perkins has regailled fans with one of his favorite memories of his close friend and teammate.
Perkins and Garnett spent three and a half seasons together in Boston. During that period they made two NBA Finals, winning one in the 2007-08 NBA season. It would be the first and only ring in Garnett’s Hall-of-Fame 21-year career.
Perkins' recent story shows just how seriously Garnett took the game of basketball. Appearing on ESPN’s “NBA Today”, Perkins recalled an interaction between Garnett and Joakim Noah during an encounter between the Celtics and Chicago Bulls.
“Guys like myself and Joakim Noah, we grew up idolizing KG. So, Joakim Noah, I believe it was his rookie year or his second year. He was like, ‘Hey, Ticket, man, hey KG man, big fan, and I want to get your number after this, so I want to work out with you.’ So KG was like ‘Who the f you talking to?’”
What made Garnett so special was his ability to seemingly put everything second, with winning as his primary focus on the court. Like many Hall-of-Fame players in the NBA at the time, he embodied the competitive spirit, which undoubtedly contributed to him becoming one of the all-time greats.
How we as fans should remember Kevin Garnett
Often times Kevin Garnett has been overlooked as one of the best big men of the 2000s. Tim Duncan and Shaquille O’Neal have always seemed to be the headline-stealers of that decade, but Garnett does not fall that far behind the iconic pair.
In his 21 seasons in the league, Garnett averaged 17.8 points, 10 rebounds, and 3.7 assists. Along with his one NBA Championship, he was an MVP (2004), Defensive Player of the Year (2008), a 15-time All-Star, making 12 All-Defensive teams and a nine-time All-NBA selectee. From 1998 to 2007, he would average above 20 points and 10 rebounds in each of those seasons, winning four rebounding titles.
A big reason he was, and still is, often overshadowed is because of his one NBA Finals appearance, compared to O’Neal and Duncan who both made six, winning four and five rings respectively. One of the contributing factors to Garnett's limited finals appearances was the fact that he spent the first 12 years of his career with the Minnesota Timberwolves, from age 19 to 30.
He only made eight playoff runs during his time there as, the Timberwolves were not an ultra-competitive team at the time and did not provide Garnett with the support needed to make deep playoff runs. This was one of the big reasons why he wanted to join the Celtics, as they certainly provided everything he needed to go on and win his first NBA Championship.
Kevin Garnett should be remembered more fondly as an NBA legend. His career was remarkable, and he played with a fiery passion that was often not reciprocated by the franchises he played for, but was admired and respected by fans and players across the league.