Even after playing 21 years in the NBA, Kevin Garnett believes he would have had a much longer career if he heard Doc Rivers’ advice to load-manage.
Kevin Garnett had his priorities set when he came down to Boston from Minnesota. A 12-year veteran at the time, he had already made 9 All-Star appearances, 7 All-NBA teams, 6 All-Defensive First teams and had many more individual accolades. But he was still searching for the ultimate glory.
Garnett decided to join the Celtics that would have him paired up with one of the best scorers in the game at the time – Paul Pierce, the best shooter – Ray Allen, and a man that would be known for having the highest of IQs in the game – Rajon Rondo. The star-studded team won their first and only championship in their first year together.
It was a team that could have won not one, but multiple NBA championships in years to come had load management started back then.
KG might have avoided his injury in 2009 which went on to alter not only Celtics’ future but many more franchises’ down the years. But that is much more debatable than what KG believes load management would’ve done to his career.
The 1996 Rookie of the Year believes he could have prolonged his career even further if he listened to the team management more and tried load management instead of playing every game throughout his career.
Kevin Garnett believes in load-management
Having a 21-year-long NBA career doesn’t mean that you’d be satisfied with having one of the longest careers in the league, certainly not for the Big Ticket. The 45-year-old believes he’d still be playing had he listened to Doc Rivers, who was the Celtics head coach at the time.
Kevin Garnett: “If they had load management back then, I’d still be playing. I should’ve listened to Doc’s ass. My hard-headed ass, that’s how you know I’m a Taurus.”
— Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) February 3, 2022
Every basketball fan knows Kevin speaks volumes more than he means, he obviously would not be playing now if he load-managed. He most certainly could have played more and ended up as the player having the longest career in the NBA.
But at the time, that KG who had Larry Bird as his Celtics’ icon wouldn’t have done that, not even if Greg Popovic was the coach of his team.
“I heard Larry Bird say one time in his early years in Boston that the reason why he loved playing in front of the fans in Boston is because you couldn’t fake them. You couldn’t fool the fans. They knew when you was playing hard. They knew when you were giving your all.” Garnett said of what Bird used to say in his early years in Boston.
That’s what the 6’11 forward did throughout his career. In 21-years, he played more than 80% of the regular season for 14 seasons, playing 75 games or more 11 times and 80 games or more 8 times. Then add to it the 143 Playoffs games of his career.
Nowadays playing just more than 65-70 games for any team’s stars is the new normal and seems far more reasonable to prolong their careers with the least possible injuries.
Even if that was normal back then, Kevin still might not have done it. That hard-headed baller in him had to play each night.