What set aside Kevin Garnett amongst his peers was his ferocious mentality on the court. KG’s one of the handful of players who had an intense way of showing his passion for the game, which intimidated his opponents and aided his performance on the court. No one could stop Garnett during his prime, and he credits that to his uncontrollable desire to be one of the best players of all time.
And some Arnold Schwarzenegger clips.
In an interview with GQ Magazine in 2021, Garnett opened up about what drives his intensity on the court. According to the NBA champion, the progress he saw in his training would bring out his confidence because it translated to dominance on the court. He recalls the time he realized why Austrian-American actor Arnold Schwarzenegger made sense in comparing his lifting training to the feeling of having an orgasm.
“To be a professional athlete, I truly believe you have to be a little—you’ve got to be a lot more willing to run through the rope... Some people get off on that. I would hear Arnold Schwarzenegger sometimes talk about having orgasms when he would lift. [In Pumping Iron, Schwarzenegger compared the feeling of lifting to “coming.”] And I went, ‘F**k, what? F**k outta here.’ But then when I would run and I would work on these moves and I would actually see my sh*t working, and then I’d get in a game and, He went for it! Oh, sh*t. How’d he go for that sh*t? And I understand. I understand the chase,” Garnett told GQ’s, Michael Pina.
The inspiration for KG’s pre-game routine
That’s also why Garnett said that his usual pre-game routine before tip-off is to bang his head with his fist, slaps his chest, and scream his lungs out. It was to release all the excess pent-up energy he’d feel before games. Garnett compares it to how Bones Jones gets ready before a boxing match and says it was a matter of muscle activation.
“You ever see ‘Bones’ Jones fight? Before Jones fights, he does this weird thing where he goes... [here Garnett slaps his chest several times] That’s muscle activation. Sometimes the screaming would just be a release, man. I’ve got so much f**king energy that I had to just...sometimes, drinking Gatorade, I’d spit it right up in the f**king air,” Garnett said.
Garnett’s comparisons sure do fit his brand, and whether people admit it or not, he became one of the greatest power forwards of all time. That competitive fire and mentality made him a monster on both ends of the floor and brought another dimension to his game.