Skip to main content

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.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

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.

Doc Rivers outlines his expectations for James Harden this season

Doc Rivers expects James Harden to play like a "scoring Magic Johnson” this season

Rivers said he wants Harden to play like a scoring Magic Johnson this season and attempt to focus on being both a facilitator and a scorer for the 76ers this season

Skip Bayless on the 2022-23 Los Angeles Lakers and Darvin Ham

Skip Bayless makes a bold prediction about the Los Angeles Lakers and Darvin Ham -"Darvin Ham is a slam dunk to win Coach of the Year”

Bayless believes that if the Lakers win more than 50 games this upcoming season, that means that Darvin Ham would deserve to win Coach of the Year

Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom with Kobe Bryant

Lamar Odom reveals Kobe Bryant came to him in his dreams: "The afterlife ain’t what people make it up to be"

Odom has such a strong tie to his Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant that he talks to him in his dreams


“F**k Dr. J, you be Shaq.” - Shaquille O’Neal recollected how his father encouraged him to create his own identity

Shaquille O'Neal's father Phillip Harrison played a major role in shaping his basketball career.

Larry Johnson

Larry Johnson reflects on his college and NBA career while also sharing what Zion Williamson needs to do be dominant in the NBA: "I think Zion needs to dunk more"

We interviewed Larry Johnson and talked about his college and NBA career while Larry also shared what Zion Williamson needs to do to be dominant in the league and why Kawhi Leonard is currently his favorite player in the NBA

Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Doncic

“I was so nervous, I couldn’t even talk” — Luka Doncic recalled the time he met Cristiano Ronaldo

There was one thing Luka wanted to ask, but was too nervous to pull the trigger on his request.

Paul Westhead and Spencer Haywood

"I drove through the streets plotting the man's murder" — When former Los Angeles Lakers forward Spencer Haywood almost killed head coach Paul Westhead

Hall of Fame legend Spencer Haywood talks us through the night he plotted to kill his head coach Paul Westhead.