Joakim Noah and Kevin Garnett Shared an Awesome Moment
You can’t tell Joakim Noah’s story without mentioning the name Kevin Garnett. But don’t take my word for it.
The Chicago Bulls’ legend had his fair share of battles against the HOF big man back in the day. And part of the reason he felt so motivated to beef with the Garnett goes back to the first time the two ever shared the court. Noah recounted the story a few years ago on the Pardon My Take podcast.
As he recalls, the two were standing at the free-throw line during the final seconds of a blowout victory for the Celtics. A young Noah – who grew up a Garnett fanatic – wanted to say something to who he thought could be a role model. Both working with the same athletic trainer in the past, Noah leaned over to ask Garnett if he planned to work with him again soon. I’ll let him describe Garnett’s reaction.
“I just wanted to say something to my idol, and he just looked over and was like ‘who the f**k are you talking to? Who the f**k do you think you’re talking to,'” Noah said back in 2020 on Pardon My Take. “And when he said that I was like ‘aw, shit, I shouldn’t have.’ And then I kind of fell back, and realized I shouldn’t have said that – not during the game. And then I didn’t say anything and, then when I didn’t say anything, I guess he thought I was a f**king p***y or something because he kept getting louder and louder.
From that moment on, I swear to go I was like I’m going at him every single time we play we are going at it. It changed my career. That moment changed my career because from that moment on I learned there is no love in battle and this is competition. At the end of the day, I’m trying to rip your f**king head off, you’re trying to rip my head off, let’s go.”
Fast forward to today, and Noah has finally gotten a chance to set things straight with one of his favorite players of all time.
Kevin Garnett invited Noah to sit down on his Showtime Basketball show KG Certified. Not only do the two walk through some of what happened back in the day, but Garnett quickly offered an apology for not showing Noah some more love earlier in his career.
“When I’m competing, just like when you’re competing, or at least it felt this, you hit destroy,” Garnett said on KG Certified. “I’m going to create doubt. That’s one of my things. I was trying trying to destroy your will. But never in another stratosphere would I have ever thought you were a fan of mine. So I come today and I say I apologize for killing that light, my brother. No, real sh*t, because I take a lot of pride in being a big brother to all the younger guys …
I just wanted you to know, I recognized your genius. I saw it. I respected it. And we battled, bro.”
Noah warmly accepted Garnett’s words before he shared a little bit of his own perspective. According to the big man, it was exactly how Garnett approached him and the game that further transformed him into the player and DPOY that Bulls fans came to adore.
“I think that it made me who I am,” Noah declared. “And that’s why today, right now this moment right here, this moment is for nobody else but me to be able to talk about this. Because the demographics I’m trying to reach to might call this sh*t soft, and there is nothing soft about facing your past. So I’m proud of this.”
How can you not love all of this? Nothing is better than seeing game respect game, and that’s exactly what we’re getting here from two of the most animated big men the NBA has ever seen.
You can check out the full clip of the conversation here, and the full interview will also be up on Showtime Basketball’s YouTube page soon.