In his new book KG: A to Z: An Uncensored Encyclopedia of Life, Basketball, and Everything in Between, the famous power forward described numerous things and anecdotes from his illustrious HOF career. One of the topics Garnett touched upon was his relationship with another great power forward, Chris Webber, whom he admired the most when coming up to the NBA as a teenager.
Even before Webber was drafted to the NBA by the Golden State Warriors, he was a nationwide superstar in college, and many kids like Garnett looked up to him. Garnet talked about his first encounter with Webber during his rookie season, in which he was in such awe that he didn’t bring his A-game on to that specific game. Garnett remembers Webber schooling him all game long which didn’t sit well with Garnet’s teammate, experienced veteran Sam Mitchell.
Garnett was young and inexperienced since he was the first player that came to the NBA straight out of high school in over two decades. Mitchell was the one that taught him how to be a professional and that despite being a fan of certain players, you have to show your teeth and play hard because that is the only way you can evolve as a player.
I had lots to learn, which I realized the first time I played against Chris Webber. C-Webb was one of the players I molded my game after. Brotha wasn’t laying up. He was dunking on your ass. He had these huge hands. Huge heart. Well, in the first game against him, he did his trademark jump hook. That was his favorite move to get him started. Little baby hook in the middle. My reaction was to stand there and watch it in amazement. Minutes later, when I got to the bench, Sam Mitchell set me straight. “I know that’s your boy KG, I know he’s your favorite, but you can’t be no fan out here. You gotta compete. This ain’t no fan shit. You gotta bust his ass.” Then Sam gave me a little slap. Sam woke me up. Next game against C-Webb, I goal-tended his first shot and launched the ball into the second row. When it came to character building, Sam Mitchell became the main man.Kevin Garnett, via KG: A to Z
As we all know, Garnett became one of the most dominant forwards in NBA history, which he ultimately crowned with an NBA title in 2008 with the Boston Celtics. Webber also had a great career even though he struggled with many injuries that slowed him down at specific points in his career. They were both incredibly talented and versatile for their size, but they also revolutionized how big men can play the game. They paved the way for all the upcoming power forwards and centers that eventually played in the NBA.