Boston Celtics legends Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett: Rivals turned brothers

Boston Celtics legends Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett: Rivals turned brothers

Back in 2007, the Celtics assembled what became known as “The Big Three.” While virtually all of New England was thrilled, there was one player who wasn’t quite as on board at the time.

Kendrick Perkins.

And there was another player who Perkins wasn’t so excited about becoming teammates with.

Kevin Garnett.

“It’s crazy because now, me and KG are best friends. Literally we talk every day,” Perkins told Kyle Belanger in an interview at the Basketball Hall of Fame’s 60 Days of Summer. “But before he got on the Celtics, we hated each other. Like I’m talking about nose to nose, like I had to call Paul, he had to call Paul and was like, ‘Hey man, how are we going to make this work? You know, me and Perk got this beef,’ or whatever the case may be.”

Before becoming teammates, the two bigs went at it in the paint with Garnett still on the Timberwolves at the time. But as soon as they both suited up in green and white, Perkins knew old rivalries needed to rest.

But that doesn’t mean Garnett wasn’t intimidating.

“I’m looking at KG, he’s in his seat. So you know, everybody else had their regular locker chair, but KG had a big old massage chair at his locker that he put in. So he’s sitting in there, you know, with his head down and I’m like, you know what? I’m going to break the ice,” Perkins explained. “So I go over there, and I’m like, ‘What’s up big fella man? I’m so happy to see you here’ and he’s like, ‘Word man, word. Let’s do this.’ And it was short, it was short just like that. Kept it moving.”

From that moment forward, the two unlikely friends put the past behind them. And it became clear that they both shared a tenacious intensity on the court, which brought them closer, instead of apart.

“I just remember our first day of practice, our practices used to be so intense, because our second unit thought they were better than our first unit… so it was a lot of noise talking going on,” Perkins said. “So me and KG get to going at it with them and all of a sudden, from there, it just clicked, like KG was like ‘I’m going to war with you.’” 

“And I remember we played the Raptors… and I remember KG was just so serious, and I was like, ‘Bro, it’s preseason,’” Perkins added. “And he just had it on his mind like, ‘I’m about to go kill this—’ excuse my language, ‘MFer, I’m about to go kill him,’ and I’m like, ‘I’m right here with you,’ and then we go out there and do work and ever since then, man, we’re just brothers for life.”

Though, it wasn’t just Garnett and Perkins who became brothers. The entire team developed a special bond.

“We were a real family,” Perkins said. “Like everywhere we went, we all were together. I’m talking about, I don’t care if it was the 15th man on the roster, we were together. We were a real family.” 

“And I know everybody talks about this Ray Allen situation, but you know, I think time heals wounds,” he added. “You know me personally, I’m still cool with Ray. The biggest problem I’m having right now, which I’m going to end up being the middle man in all this and getting it all back together, is that KG and Rondo, they are so stubborn. They are so stubborn and caught in their ways…”

While there is still tension between some of the players now, that’s one thing that hasn’t changed. Like any family, the players used to get heated with each other during practices years ago too.

“To be honest, a lot of people don’t even know. We had fights, like we had fights, like fist fights. Our practice was so serious there was fights,” Perkins explained. “And I’m looking up at Danny like you know, and he’s ‘Oh yeah, it happens all the time. You’ve got to do it. You’ve got to do it. Ain’t nothing but tough love, Perk.’ But it was like wow, I mean, but it turns out for the best because that’s how much guys wanted it.”

And what Perkins thinks about the most isn’t the 2008 championship they won. It’s the two championships they “should’ve won.”

But when all is said and done, that team is family, and there’s no better person Perkins played with than Garnett.

“My favorite basketball player is Kevin Garnett… He’s the most, besides his talent, he’s the most unselfish guy, the most unselfish human being that you could ever be around.

“So Kevin Garnett, before the season started, we used to have a whole lot of interns that used to come in and they would like try to make their way into the coaching. They weren’t making money at all, and you know what Kevin [would do>? He would take all 10 of these guys, he would call in his tailor, and he would get each guy five suits tailor made. 

“And guess what? When we won a championship, let me tell you what he did: everybody that worked around the arena, all the people who did behind the scenes work, he bought Rolex watches. The most unselfish guy on and off the court.

“On the court, you know what he came to the team and said? This is Paul and Ray’s team. I’m going to take a back seat. If y’all need me, I’m here, but this is y’all team. So that’s why he’s the best teammate I ever had. And he’s the coolest guy in the world.”

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Source: GreenStreet Blog

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