They changed the power forward position in their era. Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan were the focal points of their teams and would regularly match up while KG was playing for the Timberwolves. They were rivals and could not have been more different on and off the court. KG larger than life, loud and all energy. Tim Duncan quiet, unassuming – Mr. Fundamentals. KG was a monster dunk, Tim Duncan, a bank shot from the elbow.
A casual observer would think that KG would have the trash-talking advantage in this duel. He was loud, aggressive, and didn’t stop talking. Duncan barely spoke, except when he went over to the ref in complete disbelief because he got called for a foul. But, the casual observer would be wrong. KG talked about Duncan’s trash-talking, and it fits everything we know about Timmy.
Timmy would hit you in phrases. “Got you,” “almost.” This is the worst right here: (KG imitates tapping a player on the hip) “nice try.” Subtle shit, no gangster shit, no hardcore shit. Just subtly back your ass up and put you back over here (in your place).Kevin Garnett, All The Smoke
That would be the first thing that would catch KG off guard. Duncan’s trash-talking wasn’t aggressive, but it was effective. It would fulfill its purpose and got the opponent thinking about other things, losing focus on the game. So KG tried to fight back with his bag of tricks. That’s when Duncan would really drive him mad.
What really, really, really pissed me off was when the trash-talking wasn’t affecting him. Now you spending all this energy tryin’ to rile him up, and you forget about your game. That’s when I actually stopped talking trash to Timmy cause he wouldn’t respond.Kevin Garnett, All The Smoke
KG mentioned he tried more than trash-talking, a cheap shot here and there, just to get him to lose his cool, take his mind off the game. It didn’t work. KG would look upon the scoreboard, and Duncan would have his 20 and 15, making it look effortless. Sometimes you just have to accept there are players that don’t respond to trash talking. Quite the opposite, by not reacting to it, they get under yours.