Surely, you didn’t expect Kevin Garnett to act out of character upon achieving basketball immortality.
The ex-Boston Celtic had the most on-brand reaction to his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday. Garnett joins Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and six other icons of the sport in the Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020.
After receiving the much-deserved news, Garnett spoke to ESPN’s Reece James and former Celtics teammate Paul Pierce, and The Big Ticket’s words will sound familiar to anyone who listened to him during (and after) his 21-year NBA career.
“It’s the culmination,” Garnett said. “You put countless hours into this, you dedicate yourself to a craft, you take no days off, you play through injury, you play through demise, you play through obstacles, you give no excuses for anything, you learn, you build. This is the culmination. All those hours of everything you’ve ever put up for it all, this is what you do it for right here. To be called ‘Hall of Famer’ is everything.
Garnett expanded on his selfless mindset that carried him from high school to the ranks of the NBA elite.
“I felt like to have a brand and to be able to call yourself the best, you had to work like it, you had to practice like it. If I was asking players to dive on the floor and be able to do things that normally they wouldn’t necessarily do, they had to see it. So I took my craft very seriously.
“One of the things I like to always say I was, better than anything (else), that I was a great teammate and that was huge for me.”
Garnett earned 15 NBA All-Star selections, nine NBA All- Defensive First Team selection. He helped the Celtics win the 2008 NBA Finals and was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year that season.
He’ll enter join basketball’s other immortals Aug. 29 in Springfield, Mass., at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony.