They are the two premier forwards in the NBA of this generation — San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan and Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett. Both have won NBA titles, been selected to countless All-Star games, collected many individual awards and had their fair share of battles on the court. Perhaps the biggest on-the-court battle between TD and KG happened when Garnett was playing in Minnesota and decided to whack Duncan’s head (while TD wasn’t looking) during a fight between the two teams.
However, they also have very different personalities.
TD lets his game do all the talking while KG just talks, a lot. Duncan doesn’t let smack-talk get to him, and Garnett has a penchant to spew relentless vulgarities in order to get into the minds of the opposing players.
And like Superman and Batman, or Captain America and Ironman, TD and KG are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum which would lend to a not-so-friendly relationship.
In an interview with Chris Ballard of Sports Illustrated, Duncan was asked about Garnett and it would seem Duncan isn’t a huge fan of his peer.
In fact, Duncan hates Kevin Garnett. Hates him the way liberals hate Sean Hannity. This information comes from very reliable sources, who talk about how KG has made a career of trying to punk Duncan, baiting him and slapping him and whispering really weird smack into his ear. They talk about how funny this is, because the worst thing you can do as an opponent is piss off Duncan. Then, as Malik Rose says, “he f—— destroys you.” Duncan’s lifetime numbers versus Garnett’s teams, by the way: 19.4 points per game, 11.6 boards and a 44–17 record, including the postseason.
Duncan is diplomatic about the topic. Asked if perhaps all those years battling Garnett have softened his feelings for the man, led to a Magic-Larry type of kinship, Duncan leans back on the couch in his hotel room and grins. There is a pause. A longer pause. Finally he says, “Define kinship.“
Of course, I am sure Duncan respects what Garnett does on the court, but that doesn’t mean he has to like the guy. Then again, how many players really do like KG and his on-the-court antics?
Consider just how completely different these two players are on the court. If KG is trying to jaw at TD, trying to get into his head, and TD doesn’t give in, that’s going to get to Garnett, especially if Duncan is lighting up the stat-sheet. Same goes for Duncan. If Garnett is being relentless and disrespecting Duncan, that’s going to get to him despite TD not showing it.
Currently, the Celtics and Spurs are playing in the semi finals so there is a chance both Duncan and Garnett could meet in the NBA Finals. And what a better way to add a chapter to their rivalry with both of them battling it out for a chance at another NBA title. Just expect KG to be smack talking TD, and TD ignoring him.