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Fake tough? Former Bucks GM recalls Kevin Garnett's pre-draft workout: "He almost started hyperventilating"

Kevin Garnett was at risk of being snubbed in the NBA Draft.

Some have labeled Kevin Garnett as one of the fiercest trash talkers ever. On the flip side of the coin, some say he's a fake tough guy — often running away from real skirmishes. A revelation by a general manager — who coordinated Kevin Garnett's pre-draft workout — reveals how nervous the Hall of Famer was when he was a young stud.

Fake tough?

Straight out of high school, Garnett decided to sign up for the NBA Draft. Several teams, including the Milwaukee Bucks, took a closer look at the prodigy. John Hammond, now general manager of the Orlando Magic, recalls the adjustment he had to make to allow KG to shake off his nervousness.

"The thing that I remember vividly was how nervous Kevin was. He got to the point early in the workout where basically he almost started hyperventilating. I thought he was going to pass out. … So he and I just walked to the other end of the court, with no one on that end. Now we have our backs to everyone. I just had him start shooting some free throws and tried to get him to relax and pull himself back together," Hammond said, per Bleacher Report.

This might be one of those stories that Garnett doesn't want to be ever heard. After all, it goes against his tough guy image.

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Jaws dropped

However, history has to be kind to Garnett. After all, he became the first high school player to be picked in the draft in 1995, after which, he started opening scouts' eyes to the deep talent pool in high school. Besides, KG was barely 20 years old during that time. It was his first foray with the big boys, which comprised of NBA executives, coaches, and fellow prospects.

From the looks of it, Hammond did the right thing in taking KG away from the beady eyes of the other scouts. All Garnett needed was a few minutes of time along with the basketball. Hammond shared how KG showed off his mobility and speed — something that made him stand out from the rest of the pack.

"Near the very end of the workout, I put him at half court, on the right side of the court. I said, 'Kevin, OK, put the ball on the floor as creatively as you can, and then finish to the basket as strong as you can.' He started putting the ball on the floor, and going behind his back, between his legs, and the speed and the agility that he was doing it with, and then the way he finished at the basket. … I had vision of everybody watching him. And I'm telling you, eyes were wide open and some jaws were dropping," Hammond pointed out.

It's not an overstatement that Kevin Garnett pioneered the power forward position. Way before the term stretch-4 was invented, KG was already knocking down shots in the perimeter with efficiency. Way before mobile big men populated the league, Garnett was at the forefront, wreaking havoc.

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