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Kevin Garnett Says He Played Hard But Wasn't A Tough Guy: "Every Player In The League Gotta Be Ready To Fight. You Ain't Gonna Survive NBA Culture If You Show A Sliver Of Weakness."

Kevin Garnett Says He Played Hard But Wasn't A Tough Guy: "Every Player In The League Gotta Be Ready To Fight. You Ain't Gonna Survive NBA Culture If You Show A Sliver Of Weakness."

Kevin Garnett is remembered for his legendary tenacity and intensity, KG was an absolute demon on the basketball court. His dominance on both ends of the court came from his ironclad desire to be the best and win, and it often manifested itself in tough, physical plays and trash talk. 

Many players around the league have a reputation for being tough, although that shows in different ways. Some are physical, players that can't be messed with, while others attack their opponents mentally. Garnett, who most would label a tough guy if they've watched him play, recently made the distinction in his book KG: A to Z between being tough and playing hard, going on to say that he did the latter and wasn't tough. 

“Big difference between a tough guy and a hard player. I played hard but I don’t consider myself a tough guy. The fact that I won’t back away from a fight doesn’t make me a tough guy. Every player in the league gotta be ready to fight. You ain’t gonna survive NBA culture if you demonstrate even a sliver of weakness. The league's made of guys who’ve come out of their neighborhoods as superheroes. That neighborhood might be a college campus or a ghetto project.

“Soon as they arrive, they’ll be tested, not only by their opponents but their teammates who worry about them taking their place. The competition is ocean deep and mountain high. You gotta play hard or you ain’t playing at all.”

Garnett makes a great point. Surviving mentally at the highest level of basketball is a difficult thing, and no player in the NBA could last if they didn't have what it takes to get there in the first place. However, only a few guys are tough in the general sense of the word, and that's a good thing. There really isn't much reason for them to be.