Kevin Garnett is one of the most ferocious competitors the league has ever seen. He can lay verbal smackdowns very easily and has done so to every person that dared to guard him during an NBA game. KG has no mercy for anyone, especially not rookie centers on rival teams.
That is something Joakim Noah found out the hard way. Noah was the starting center for the Chicago Bulls in the early 2010s and was the secondary star on the team alongside Derrick Rose as a DPOY-level defender.
Noah idolized KG growing up and the two-time NCAA champion decided to try to chat up Garnett when he was in Boston. It's safe to say he paid the price for trying to make conversation with one of the greatest trash talkers in NBA history while a game is still going on.
KG, who celebrated his 46th birthday yesterday, was asked, in 2019, about an incident from Joakim Noah's career where he said 'f**k you, Noah' to the rookie big, and KG explained why he did so at that moment:
"There's a time and place for everything. Don't ask someone anything during a game or competition, not me. You can't ask me anything during competition. He asked me the move I just gave him, like ni**a figure it out! You're not getting sh*t, the f**k I look like? And you got a Bulls jersey on?"
Noah remembers the entire story from his perspective and realizes he made a mistake by trying to chat up Garnett in the middle of a game. Rookie excitement be damned:
"I was always hoping KG would walk in the gym and I would be able to work out with him. And I remember asking him a question like, you know, you going to work out with Joe? I just want to say something to my idol. And he just like looked over and he was like, who the fuck are you talking to? And then when he said that, I was like, ahhh shit. And then like, I kind of fell back knowing that I shouldn't I shouldn't have said that, like, not not during the game."
Noah got his own revenge by becoming the Defensive Player of the Year in 2014 and a one-time top-five MVP finalist. However, Noah's career would fizzle out and he would never reach the heights Garnett did. He would retire in early 2020 after a stint with the LA Clippers.
KG has been enjoying post-basketball life since his 2015 retirement. While Noah and Garnett were two of the best defenders in the Eastern Conference in the late 2000s and early 2010s, their peaks came at different times and we could never see a genuine battle between the pair on the court.