Kevin Garnett is a Hall of Fame player. One of the greatest forwards of all-time. He’s a 15-time All-Star and an NBA champion. He is also renowned (or reviled) as one of the absolute greatest trash talkers to ever lace up a pair of sneakers. The guy had no fear. Garnett would mouth off to anybody. He was just that cocky. However, he was also a man who could learn his lessons quickly in the NBA. One of the most important when he first got to the league?
Never ever mouth off to Michael Jordan.
When Garnett arrived as a 1st round pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1995, all his veteran teammates knew this. When you played Chicago, do whatever possible to win but do not tug on Superman’s cape if you know what’s good for you. Apparently nobody educated the rookie on this. After a close loss on February 16th, 1996, the Timberwolves headed to Chicago for a rematch on the 27th.
Towards the end of the 3rd quarter, it was close again as the Bulls held an 82-76 lead. That was when Garnett started to talk. Right in front of Jordan, no less. What happened next? You can probably guess.
Kevin Garnett learned the hard way about the Jordan Rule
Keep in mind this was the year of the 72-10 Bulls team. Arguably the best in NBA history. From the start of the 4th quarter to the end of the game, Chicago rolled off 38 points. They won 120-99 with Jordan delivering 35 points of his own. The Bulls improved to 50-6 on the season and would of course go on to win their first of three-straight championships. IT would take Garnett another 12 years before he got one of his own.
This was a nice reminder from the G.O.A.T himself on just how drastic the spike in talent the rookie was facing at the NBA level. If he wanted to be great, he’d have to back up his talk. Eventually, Garnett did just that. Just not on that night.