Kevin Garnett’s legacy will be immortalized tonight when he will officially get inducted into the HOF. Even before he retired from the NBA, Garnett already deserved a place among the elite of the elite, and there was no question this day would eventually come. Apart from all the basketball skillset he possessed that made him one of the most dominant power forwards in NBA history, Garnett had a unique personality. He often tried to intimidate not just his opposing players but also his teammates.
After returning to play for the Minnesota Timberwolves in his last season, he was no longer the same player as before individually. Still, he asserted himself as a role model and mentored the younger players. In a recent interview for The Athletic, Zach LaVine remembers a scene with Andrew Wiggins, KG, and himself in which they witnessed how intense Garnett was. Interestingly enough, when they saw Garnett watch the Gladiator movie, he started talking about the importance of brotherhood to LaVine and Wiggins.
In the locker room, there used to be a couch and TV next to the kitchen, so we walk in, and KG’s there. It looks like he’s been there. He’s watching the movie “Gladiator.” It’s the final scene where Russell Crowe is fighting for his life. He sees me and Andrew (Wiggins), and he’s like, ‘Come here, come here.’Zach LaVine, via The Athletic
So we walk over there. He’s real into the movie. “You see this shit right here, this is what this shit’s about. 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.” He’s like “right, Zach. You feel me Wiggs?”
Andrew Wiggins says, “I don’t know even know what ‘Gladiator’ is, I’ve never heard of this movie.” The look on his face was like perplexed. Not anger, but just like get out of my face. So he just looks at us and says, “Y’all go get ready for the game, man.”
The interaction with Garnett, which LaVine describes, epitomizes his entire career and how he played the game. Garnett was loyal, competitive, passionate, and a true winner who impacted every team he played on. He is a legendary player in every possible way and much deserving to be in the HOF with the other greats from his generation. Hopefully, Wiggins and LaVine picked up and understood what Garnett was saying and apply it to their careers because that type of mindset is the recipe for success.