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Kevin Garnett Once Boldly Described His Unique Mentality When Playing Basketball: "I Would Hear Arnold Schwarzenegger Sometimes Talk About Having Orgasms When He Would Lift... And I Understand. I Understand The Chase.”

Kevin Garnett Once Boldly Described His Unique Mentality When Playing Basketball: "I Would Hear Arnold Schwarzenegger Sometimes Talk About Having Orgasms When He Would Lift... And I Understand. I Understand The Chase.”

Kevin Garnett played in what was arguably the most competitive era at the power forward position. His prime overlapped with those of Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki, two of the greatest ever to do it. And while both had the edge over Garnett in some ways, an argument can be made that he was individually the best power forward of his era. 

What set Garnett apart was his intensity. Nothing could stop KG on the court, he stepped out ready to destroy anyone and everyone in his path. His trash-talking ability was legendary, Udonis Haslem once described it as the most disrespectful stuff he had heard in his life. And KG could back it up real good, too; he was a demon on both ends of the floor. 

In an interview with GQ magazine in 2021, Garnett spoke about his intensity, explaining that he could hardly control it at times. He also gave a wild example of something the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger had once said to explain himself.

“When you saw me bang my head on the back of the goal before the games, it was just about preparation,” Garnett tells me. “You ever see ‘Bones’ Jones fight? Before Jones fights, he does this weird thing where he goes... [here Garnett slaps his chest several times] That’s muscle activation. Sometimes the screaming would just be a release, man. I’ve got so much f**king energy that I had to just...sometimes, drinking Gatorade, I’d spit it right up in the f**king air. 

“You know the feeling you get when you enter a dark room and you can’t see anything? And now you’re using your sense and your touch to kind of gingerly get through? Well, imagine running full speed through that dark, and then whatever you hit, you hit. 

“To be a professional athlete, I truly believe you have to be a little—you’ve got to be a lot more willing to run through the rope... Some people get off on that. I would hear Arnold Schwarzenegger sometimes talk about having orgasms when he would lift. [In Pumping Iron, Schwarzenegger compared the feeling of lifting to “coming.”] And I went, ‘F**k, what? F**k outta here.’ But then when I would run and I would work on these moves and I would actually see my sh*t working, and then I’d get in a game and, He went for it! Oh, sh*t. How’d he go for that sh*t? And I understand. I understand the chase.”

It is a little hard to understand this mindset exactly, a little bit of insanity is perhaps necessary to understand the competitive fire that took Garnett right to the top. For normal folk, it's hard to view their work or career this way, but this drive exists in some way or another in every person at the top of their field. Ultimately, there is nothing more quintessentially Kevin Garnett than being the most intense person on the court, except perhaps the way he described his mentality in this interview with GQ.