Kevin Garnett, like any other all-time great, saw his game declining in the twilight years of his career in the league. However, the one thing that remains the same, if in fact, maybe even increased over the years, was his undeniable intensity.
An intense moment with KG
When Garnett made his epic return to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2015, the team was stacked with a young and talented group that included Ricky Rubio, Andrew Wiggins, and Zach LaVine. Having watched KG since they were kids, the youngsters knew that "The Big Ticket" is not the type of guy they would want to mess with until one day, LaVine made a terrible mistake.
According to LaVine, for some reason, he wound up using Garnett's locker. By the time he realized it, KG was already there. As expected, LaVine felt fear as he had no idea how Garnett would react.
"This is his locker and I'm actually kind of scared because I think he is going to say something about me being in his locker," LaVine told USA Today in 2015.
In an attempt to avoid the last thing he wanted to happen, LaVine repeatedly offered the locker back to Garnett, but the NBA legend refused.
Fortunately for the Timberwolves newcomer, Garnett was probably having a good day at the time.
"I did more than offer; I wanted him to take it," LaVine admitted. "I wanted him to sit there. I said, 'I'll move!' But it's going to be great for me; I know that. Future hall of famer, man, everyone wants to get to his level. He was playing in this league before I was born!"
Zach understood KG's intensity
If his first intense moment with Garnett left LaVine quite befuddled, the next unforgettable locker moment he had with KG lifted the lid.
As per LaVine, he can still vividly recall how Garnett had him and Wiggins watch The Gladiator movie, starring Russell Crowe. When they obliged, KG gave them a pep talk that made him understand why the 15-time NBA All-Star was always in high-intensity mode.
"He's real into the movie. [He goes] 'You see this shit right here, this is what this shit's about," LaVine recounted. "You die for what you believe in. You die for your boys. This is that mentality we need to have going into the game. It's about war. It's about going down with your boys. I love this shit. This shit gives me goosebumps.' I look, and he actually has goosebumps. I'm a big KG guy, and I'm like, 'Yeah, I'm with you man. This is how we gotta play.'"
LaVine and Garnett may have only played together in Minnesota for one and a half-season, but LaVine surely learned a lot from KG that honed the mental aspect of his game.