Garnett once made Zach LaVine watch 'Gladiator' before game originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
With Kevin Garnett set to be enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Saturday, stories lauding his greatness are pouring from the woodwork.
And Bulls guard Zach LaVine, who shared Minnesota Timberwolves threads with Garnett for half of the 2014-15 season, has one that puts Garnett's rare competitive fire into perspective.
In a feature by The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski, LaVine recounted a day, late in his rookie year, when he and Andrew Wiggins stumbled upon Garnett binging Russell Crowe's "Gladiator" in the Timberwolves' locker room before a game.
"In the locker room there used to be a couch and TV next to the kitchen, so we walk in and KG’s there. It looks like he’s been there. He’s watching the movie 'Gladiator.' It’s the final scene where Russell Crowe is fighting for his life," LaVine told Krawczynski. "He (Garnett) sees me and Andrew (Wiggins) and he’s like, ‘Come here, come here.’"
Garnett, according to LaVine, went on to use the movie as a teaching moment for the two rooks.
"So we walk over there. He’s real into the movie," LaVine continued. "'You see this s--- right here, this is what this s---’s about. You die for what you believe in. You die for your boys. This is that mentality we need to have going into the game. It’s about war. It’s about going down with your boys. I love this s---. This s--- gives me goosebumps.'"
Yeah, that sounds like Garnett.
LaVine and Wiggins had very different reactions to the scene.
"I look, and he (Garnett) actually has goosebumps," LaVine told Krawczynski. "I’m a big KG guy and I’m like 'Yeah, I’m with you man. This is how we gotta play.' He’s like 'right, Zach. You feel me Wiggs?' ... Andrew Wiggins says 'I don’t know even know what ‘Gladiator’ is, I’ve never heard of this movie.' The look on his face was like perplexed. Not anger, but just like get out of my face. So he just looks at us and says, 'Y’all go get ready for the game, man.'"
Surely, LaVine has no shortage of Garnett stories from that season. Multiple times, in fact, LaVine has recalled the time he bumped into the then-38-year-old during an intense, late-night workout session at the Timberwolves gym... And was signaled to Garnett's presence by a black Rolls Royce Phantom parked outside.
Garnett headlines a star-studded, soon-to-be-inducted Hall of Fame class that also includes Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Tamika Catchings and others.