The summer of 2007 was an important time in Kevin Garnett’s life. As he was racking up individual awards and accolades, his team was far from improving at the same rate the superstar had over the past decade. It was time for a change in The Big Ticket’s career, it was just a matter of answer where he’d end up.
We know now that Garnett would go on to play for the Boston Celtics, where he’d win a championship in his first year with Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo. But the big man recently revealed that he almost formed a duo on the Los Angeles Lakers with Kobe Bryant. On the All Star episode of the All The Smoke podcast, Garnett told hosts, and former NBA players, Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson that his big wish that offseason was to link up with the Black Mamba.
“I’m just being honest with everybody, I wanted to link with Kob'” Garnett told Barnes, Jackson and a live audience in Chicago. “Kob’ and I had a different connect. When Kob’ and Shaq went on their little [feud], a lot of people went with Shaq. A lot of people didn’t even f–k with Kob’. I’m one of the very few that just stayed with him[…] But Kob’ respects dawgs.”
As KG would go on to outline, the pairing would have been a match made in heaven personality-wise given the work ethic of the two players. Kobe’s dedication to improving his craft was well-documented, and Garnett described his workout routine while living in Los Angeles where he’d start at 4:30 a.m. and go until at least noon. It either would have been the most ferocious team in the league, or a powder keg of emotions from the energy of just two NBA legends.
Communication issues ultimately made it difficult for things to come to fruition, and the rest is history.
Bryant wasn’t the only legend of the game discussed during the show. Garnett also talked about the first time he tried to test Michael Jordan. During a game in his rookie season, the Timberwolves were playing the Bulls rather well. The then-18-year-old was feeling confident and started to hype up his teammate who Jordan was guarding. When KG noticed Jordan had overheard the hype, he leaned into it, adding emphasis to his words and gritting his teeth. Shortly afterwards, Isaiah “J.R.” Rider, the teammate in question, apparently went over to MJ to try and apologize on the behalf of his rookie. It had not effect.
“I can’t even really describe the next six to seven minutes of play,” Garnett said. “In the next six to seven minutes of play, y’all, we get two 10-second [violation] calls. We down 25 now, it was just at two. Mike had 18, he had 40 now. J.R., myself, we ain’t scored in ’bout four minutes […] It got bad quick, yo.”
KG had no choice but to give his teammate an apology.