Back in 1999, after another condensed lockout season, a young player on an eighth team made a promise.
It was the promise heard ’round the world as Kevin Garnett proclaimed he and his Minnesota Timberwolves would “shock the world” against the first-seeded San Antonio Spurs, who went on to beat the Wolves and win their first NBA title.
History apparently repeats itself. Another lockout season, another 1-8 matchup and another young player talking about shocking the world.
Although since Garnett promised it in 1999, it seems every year since a player or team has said they have plans to do what Garnett couldn’t.
Add Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward to that list, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
The mild-mannered Hayward uttered the three words in a different context than Garnett, but it could be enough to give the Spurs some locker room material.
“For us, we’re just going to compete and play hard. We’ve proven we can beat the best teams if we do things our way, so that’s what we’re going to have to do. … It’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a challenge. It gives us a chance to shock the world. So we have to be ready for it.”
While Hayward, who has averaged 12 points per game in his sophomore campaign, may have given the Spurs their due respect and I can appreciate his excitement for playing in his first NBA playoff game, he may have sent enough of a message to get a real welcome to the playoffs against the Spurs in Game 1 this Sunday.
And while the Jazz may have beaten some very good teams “doing things their way,” the rookie will learn quickly that the playoffs are a whole new beast.
Garnett learned that lesson and it really sank in when he had to walk into the Alamodome during preseason the next season and spotted the Spurs’ oversized 1999 World Champions banner.
I’m sure Spurs fans hope Hayward’s quote yields similar results.