It’s hard to think of any player in NBA history that played with as much passion as Kevin Garnett. The “Big Ticket” is one of the best power forwards ever, known for his unique combination of size, agility, and shooting touch. Even though he was a complex guy to stop on the court, where he was even more arduous and unmatched was his passion and trash-talking.
During his days with the Timberwolves, KG dominated the NBA, winning the MVP in 2004. But his teams never went too far, as Garnett was often the only guy on his team willing to die for the sake of winning. But when he arrived in Boston, alongside Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, KG was finally in a winning environment, surrounded by great competitors.
It would be the perfect mix, as the Celtics “Big 3” won it all in their first year together, and KG finally satisfied that immense hunger for winning with a ring. The Celtics had a few more years of being very competitive, but they never managed to repeat the success from 2008. Still, in that era, with characters like KG, Pierce, Rondo, Perkins, “Big Baby” Davis, and much more on one team, we got a bunch of hilarious locker room stories.
After it was announced Kevin Garnett would be inducted into the Hall-of-Fame, his good friend Paul Pierce talked on ESPN about KG’s career and shared a hilarious story about a particular game in which they butted heads.
“I’ll tell you one story. We played against the San Antonio Spurs, and I got Ginobilli this night; Perkins has Duncan, so we surrounded the game plan around stopping Ginobili. We look up, I think we’re down like 6 at the half, and Kevin has Matt Bonner. Matt Bonner has 20 points at the half. So I’m walking down the hallway going to the locker room at halftime, and I’m like: ‘Who the hell got Matt Bonner?’ Knowing that KG has him. And I’m yelling out; I’m doing all this work to stop Ginobili; Matt Bonner got 20. He gave me like 3 f-bombs: ‘You know who the f–k got Matt Bonner! You know why he had 20 because I’m out here helping your bleep-bleep.’ And we went face to face, and I was like, alright, guard him then.”Paul Pierce, ESPN
The Spurs have a history as being one of those teams that always had the depth and ability to have any guy on their roster catch fire because of the system and culture in that organization. So even though the Celtics focused on the stars in Duncan and Ginobili, a player like Matt Bonner got hot. The sweet-shooting big man is one of the more memorable figures in recent NBA history, as the funky shooting form and look always caught the eyes of fans and his opponents. But Bonner had game, and Popovich knew how to get the best out of him.
So when Pierce saw Bonner dropped 20 in a half on a defender of KG’s magnitude, he had to let him know, all while making sure he motivates Garnett to destroy Bonner in the 2nd half. Even though it caused a minor altercation between the two, it was the way these two tough veterans operated and got themselves going. I’m pretty sure Bonner didn’t have the best time of his life in the 2nd half, with a pissed of Garnett on your neck. Another classic KG story.