At 38 years old, Udonis Haslem doesn’t see the court very much these days. In fact, he’s logged a total of just 190 minutes since 2017. However, back in the day, Mr. 305’s hard-nosed, gritty contributions played a pivotal role in the Miami Heat’s claim to three NBA Championships over the past decade and a half.
In other words, the 18-year NBA veteran knows a thing or two about bringing toughness to the hardwood. And it recently became ever-so apparent that Haslam does not believe that trait is one that Boston Celtics legend Kevin Garnett brought to the court over his storied 21-year NBA career.
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Haslem: ‘You Probably Want to Take KG Off that Tough Guy List’
On Tuesday, Haslem was asked by ESPN’s Tim McMahon about the 2020 NBA Hall of Fame Class, referring to inductees Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Garnett as “three of the toughest guys to ever walk the planet.”
Haslem quickly scoffed at the inclusion of Garnett.
“Tough guys, you said? Two of those guys I would probably say I consider tough guys — and that’s more so mentally tough — and one of those guys just does a lot of this,” Haslem said of Garnett while gesturing with a talking hand motion. “That’s not tough at all.”
“The definition of tough guy doesn’t go by guys that do this (talking). You know that. You probably want to take KG off that tough guy list,” Haslem proclaimed, later adding “KG chooses a route that I really don’t condone… A lot of that talking and disrespect.”
Udonis Haslem asked about Kobe, Duncan, & Garnett going into the HOF next week. UD does not think tough guy should be used to describe KG:2 of those guys I would consider mentally tough and one of those guys does a whole lot of talking…don’t be loosely throwing around tough guy pic.twitter.com/oWdsi5rgNR
— Brendan Tobin (@Brendan_Tobin) May 4, 2021
Haslem Praises KG, the Player
While Haslem may not be the biggest fan of Garnett’s on-court antics, he couldn’t deny his greatness as a basketball player.
“You can’t take away from what he’s done on the basketball court and who he’s been as a basketball player,” Haslem said of Garnett. “Obviously, coming in at such a young age — from the get-go — being able to dominate this game of basketball on both ends. You talk about a two-way player, he was one of the first guys to do it (at 6-foot-11-inches). Talking about guarding one through five. And just the way he was disruptive on defense and then took it to the offensive floor and just approach both ends of the game with the same mentality and aggressiveness.”
Haslem proceeded to give Garnett as well as Bryant and Duncan their flowers. “Those guys definitely deserve to be in the Hall of Fame,” he said of the trio, before tossing one more slight dig in K.G.’s direction, “Don’t be loosely throwing around ‘tough guy.’”
Isiah Thomas to Present Garnett at Hall of Fame
The Athletic’s Shams Charania recently unveiled the list of presenters for the 2020 Naismith Hall of Fame induction ceremony which will take place on May 15th. Garnett’s presenter Isiah Thomas may have turned some heads initially.
Garnett’s former teammate Kendrick Perkins recently joined NBC Sports Boston’s Celtics Postgame Live to better clarify the decision, while detailing the strong relationship shared between Garnett and Thomas.
“Isiah Thomas was a mentor to Kevin Garnett and is one of his favorite players and one of his favorite people of all time,” Perkins said.
“Isiah Thomas was the first person to give KG hope of coming out of high school. He told everyone in the gym that Kevin Garnett was going to be a pro,” he noted. “Ever since then, their relationship, their brotherhood has been inseparable.”