In today's NBA, load management is as accepted as normal. Star players who may feel like they need a break will skip a game or two with the intent to preserve their bodies for the postseason and beyond.
It's a new-age luxury that many ex-players did not get the chance to utilize -- including Kevin Garnett.
Garnett, who played for 21 years in the NBA, retired in 2016 after racking up over 50,000 minutes. In a recent chat with Jared Wise of The Athletic, he explained that he might have been able to play longer had he adopted load management into his career.
Considering KG is 45-years-old, it's a safe bet to assume he was being hyperbolic when he claimed he could still be playing. Still, having the occasional game off probably would have helped extend his career for a few more seasons, at the very least.
Of course, back in Garnett's playing days, he was far too competitive to miss games for no reason. It was a different era back then, and guys were expected to play.
“I’m going to be honest with y’all. I’ll probably get some shit for this, but no trainer’s going to tell me how long I’m playing. Once I’m out here, I’m out here. If I could play, I’m playing. Y’all pay me to play, so shut the fu** up and let me hoop. And that was the end of the discussion. There ain’t no more talking," said Garnett back in 2020.
In the end, it all worked out for The Big Ticket. He retired as a 15x All-Star, 9x All-NBA player, 1x MVP, and 1x Champion. He became a first-ballot Hall of Famer and is widely regarded today as the best Timberwolves player ever.
So while it would have been great to see KG do this thing for a little while longer, it doesn't take away all that he was able to accomplish during his time.