Garnett: ‘From day one, I wanted to be able to be different’

One of the greatest classes in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame history will be honored on Saturday night. Headlined by the late Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett, the Hall of Fame class of 2020 will be inducted at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony was postponed and rescheduled for this year.

Garnett, who was a 15-time All-Star and will be presented by Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas, was one of the best power forwards in his era. He had a lot of battles with many great power forwards at that time. In the late 90s and early 2000s, in the NBA, especially in the Western Conference, you had guys like Dirk Nowitzki, Duncan, Chris Webber, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, and more. Hence, it was not easy to make your mark in the league at the power forward position. 

As the position evolved, instead of post-ups, players started to face-up and became more perimeter-oriented.

On Friday, at the Hall of Fame press conference, the former MVP, discussed how he wanted to be different and the challenges of being a power forward at that time in the league. 

“The competition was real, night in and night out, you had a challenge every night,” Garnett said. “It wasn’t like an easy night at the four at the time. I think you had Chris Webber; you had Dirk(Nowitzki), you had Dice(Antonio McDyess), you had Joe Smith, you had Sheed(Rasheed Wallace), you had Timmy(Duncan), you had Chuck(Charles Barkley), you had Karl(Malone). The list goes on and on. 

“From day one, I wanted to be able to be different. I wanted to face-up. When I first came into the league in 95′, a lot of the bigs had the back to the basket. You didn’t see a lot of face-ups. Through the glory of working with Kevin McHale, I started to change the narrative of what a four looks like. I wanted to be a lot more versatile.”

Anything is possible, and coming from South Carolina, going to high school in Chicago, starting his NBA career in Minnesota, going to Boston, and finally winning an NBA title with the Celtics. Garnett has seen and done a lot in the NBA. Now, he is in basketball heaven. 

The Class of 2020 inductees will also include Patrick Baumann, 18-time NBA All-Star 10-time WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medalist Tamika Catchings, three-time NCAA National Championship Coach Kim Mulkey, five-time Division II National Coach of the Year Barbara Stevens, four-time collegiate National Coach of the Year Eddie Sutton and two-time NBA Champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich. 

Watch as Garnett talks Bryant, winning in Boston, and more:

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