‘That’s Not Tough At All’: Udonis Haslem Says Kevin Garnett Cannot be Compared to Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan

Published 05/05/2021, 6:00 AM EDT
(L-R) NBA players Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Glen Davis of the Boston Celtics accept the award for ‘Best Team’ onstage at the 2008 ESPY Awards held at NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE on July 16, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. The 2008 ESPYs will air on Sunday, July 20 at 9PM ET on ESPN. (Photo by Michael Caulfield/WireImage)


2020’s Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class has been announced. Some of the most legendary players in the game will receive top honors this year. Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, and Tim Duncan will headline the 2020 class. All three players were legends of the game and pivotal figures in the mid-2000s. However, one former NBA champion doesn’t think that KG matches up with Bryant and Duncan in one aspect.

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Udonis Haslem doesn’t think Kevin Garnett is a ‘tough guy’

Former NBA champion Udonis Haslem spoke to the press recently. A reporter asked Haslem about the ‘tough guy’ reputation of Hall of Fame inductees Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett. However, Haslem retorted by saying that Kevin Garnett doesn’t belong in the list of ‘tough guys.’ He noted that a player that talks the amount that Garnett does shouldn’t be considered a tough guy.

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Haslem said, “Tough guys, you said?… Two of those guys I could probably say tough guys, and that’s more so mentally tough. And one of those guys just do a lot of [talking]. That’s not tough at all. The definition of tough guy doesn’t go by guys that do this [talking]. You probably want to take KG off that tough guy list… Obviously, Kobe was a guy that said ‘I’m going to lead… You guys just get on board and follow. And if I can implement my mentality and my heart into you guys, then we’ll be alright.’ That’s the way Kobe did his thing.”

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Haslem had similar praise for Tim Duncan, saying, “I think Tim Duncan was just a quiet assassin. He was just one of those guys who didn’t say much, and those guys probably p*ssed you off more than anybody. They’re not going to talk to you, not going to say much, and then he going to fry you like chicken, he’s going to have 30-15 and they’re going to win the championship.” 

Haslem has great respect for KG’s game

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Haslem’s main gripe with Kevin Garnett was how much trash talking he did. Haslem showed great respect for KG as a player, noting that he gave it his all on the court. Garnett was an incredible player on both ends of the court. In fact, Haslem called KG one of the first high-level two-way players in the NBA.

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY, 16: Former Boston Celtics teammates Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Garnett (2) and Washington Wizards forward Paul Pierce (34) joke around during game action on January 16, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

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Haslem said, “KG chooses a route that I really don’t condone. A lot of that talking and disrespect. But that can’t take away from what he’s done on the basketball court, and who he has been as a basketball player. Obviously coming in at such a young age, and from the get-go, being able to dominate this game of basketball on both ends of the floor. You talk about a two-way player, he’s one of the first to ever do it…”

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Is Udonis Haslem right in his criticism of Kevin Garnett? KG is one of the all-time greats and is recognized as one of the best at his position. However, some of his comments in the past about certain players have drawn the ire of fans. Specifically, his comments about driving LeBron James out of Cleveland in 2010 garnered a lot of criticism and scrutiny.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1313 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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