Kevin Garnett talked about how Charles Barkley and the Houston Rockets were giving his Timberwolves advice after beating them.
Kevin Garnett led the way for several NBA players to make the jump to the NBA straight out of high school and be successful in the process. Guys like Kobe Bryant who would later guide the likes of Tracy McGrady even approached KG for advice on what it was like to make such an extreme leap in terms of talent and competition.
By the time Kevin Garnett got to the league however, Charles Barkley was already a few years away from retiring, unbeknownst to him of course. The ‘93 MVP fought tooth and nail year in and year out to acquire his first NBA championship on different teams but couldn’t get the job done.
Now on the Houston Rockets alongside 2x FMVP Hakeem Olajuwon, Chuck felt as though this stop in H-Town was his last chance to win it all. That 1997 season led by legendary coach, Rudy Tomjanovich, was the best iteration of the Charles Barkley Houston Rockets, posting up a 57-25 regular season record.
In their first test of the Playoffs, they would face Kevin Garnett and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Kevin Garnett on facing Charles Barkley in the 1997 Playoffs.
In what would be his second season in the NBA, Kevin Garnett would continue to showcase flashes of what he could become on both ends of the floor. He was averaging 17 points, grabbing 8 rebounds, and blocking 2.1 shots a game to go along with 1.4 steals
Come Playoff time, he did not disappoint for a 20 year old as he had 21 points on 48% shooting Game 1, 14 points on 50% shooting in Game 2, and 17 points on 7-16 shooting in Game 3. of course, all three of these bouts would end in frustrating losses against the seasoned Rockets.
When asked recently about this series in particular o Showtime, Kevin Garnett said that Chuck brought him in close for an embrace to let him know that he still has a long way to go, hilariously angering him.
That Rockets team would go on to make the Western Conference Finals who famously lost the series to a game-winning shot from John Stockton. As for the Timberwolves, they would go on to lose 5 first rounds in a row before losing the 2004 WCF against the Lakers and then proceeding to never making the postseason again in the KG era.