Kevin Garnett is an all-time legend, and he was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame. He was an MVP with the Minnesota Timberwolves and won a championship with the Boston Celtics.
We all know that Kevin Garnett was a huge contributor to the Celtics' 2008 championship, but history could have turned out very differently. In a recent interview with Michael Pina of GQ, it was revealed that Garnett originally "had reservations" about playing in Boston, and wanted to talk with Kobe Bryant prior to making a final decision.
Garnett had reservations about going to play in Boston, even after speaking to Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. That’s partly because before he made a final decision, he wanted to talk with Kobe. The only problem: Bryant was touring China for Nike and, from Garnett’s point of view, couldn’t be bothered to discuss a future as teammates. “I needed to have a conversation with him. I couldn't talk to Phil [Jackson, then coach of the Lakers] or none of that. I'm not a phone guy, you know what I'm saying? But it's [Kobe], you know what I'm saying? It was just kind of water under the bridge. At least it felt like that.”
The two never connected. Later that summer, Garnett ran into Antoine Walker at an event celebrating Gary Payton’s renewal of his marriage vows; the former Celtic helped convince him that Boston was where he could win. (It also helped that Ainge traded for Ray Allen on draft night.)
Garnett then launches into a story about the first time he saw Bryant after becoming a Celtic, quickly staging a one-man show in which he played both parts at two opposite volumes and temperaments.
“‘YO, MAN, YOU WAS TRYING TO GET IN CONTACT WITH ME?’ 'Man, get the fuck outta here.' 'NAH, NAH, I'M SERIOUS, MAN. I GOT THIS SHIT LATE, MAN. DAMN MAN.’ ‘It's all good.’ 'NAH, IT AIN'T GOOD, YOU IN THAT WRONG COLOR, MAN. WHAT THE FUCK, MAN. HOW YOU GONNA GO TO BOSTON OF ALL PLACES.’ ‘Man, nah, you gotta chill.’”
Garnett then sits back. “It was all good. I always loved playing against [Kobe]. But yeah, it probably would have been a different level playing with him.”
From the segment, it's clear that Kobe Bryant wasn't the happiest about Kevin Garnett joining his rivals, though to Bryant's credit, he did end up beating Kevin Garnett and the Celtics to win his 2010 titles. It would have certainly been interesting to see a Garnett-Bryant duo in action.
The NBA has a lot of "what-ifs" like this. Kobe Bryant was once close to signing with the Clippers. We won't ever know for certain if Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett would have tasted championship success, but knowing both of their abilities, it's hard to imagine them not winning at least one title.