When I heard today that Kevin Garnett had decided to retire, I couldn’t help but think about what Kevin Garnett defined in the NBA. One thing Kevin Garnett defined was emotion, and this video is a pure example of why.
After Game 6 of the NBA Finals in 2008, Garnett was interviewed after he won his first NBA title and you can just see all of his emotion pouring out as he is crying and screaming, “Anything is possible!”.
Garnett was a player that got in the heads of his opponents. Some of it was to get under their skin, maybe helping his chance at a better game. But most of the time it was who Kevin Garnett knew who to be. The way Garnett played was with the mindset of willing to die for the game of basketball. That was something that you rarely saw.
In my lifetime, I would say the only other players to have that type of mindset is Kobe and LeBron. Garnett came into the league 21 seasons ago, and came in with a swagger that he was going to control whatever situation he got himself into on the floor.
Garnett’s career also defines a coming of age story. He was arrested in high school for fighting over a racial situation with another high school student that forced him to change schools at the time. Garnett would still go into the draft after high school and walked into a man’s league as a young boy. He grew up fast and won an MVP by 2004 and showed how much better he had become on and off the floor. It all eventually came full circle in 2008 when he won his first ring, showing that he wanted more than just individual success.
What Garnett brought every game from the day he stepped in the league was the ability to make the players around him better. It was evident with his last season in the NBA, this past season, when he mentored a young Karl-Anthony Towns and was able to breed him into a Rookie of the Year selection. You can see how much Garnett’s presence meant to him as he and other players thanked him for his time in the league. Now, a lot of that was talent from Towns alone, but what is unnoticed, is what Garnett did for the franchise that he was drafted by.
Garnett was willing to play his last season in a situation where he was not going to make the playoffs, but he knew that he could help the Timberwolves beyond his NBA career. You saw Kobe Bryant do that in the last few seasons of his career, once again showing that Garnett was a greater superstar than people make him out to be.
Kevin Garnett’s career is something that I would try to transfer and emulate into my own life. He overcame a lot of adversity, and with each of us having our own adversity, it wouldn’t be bad to wear our hearts on our sleeves as well.