November 25, 2015 | 2:46 pm EST Update
The person who conducted Glenn Robinson’s negotiations was Dr. Charles Tucker. Now, 21 years later, Tucker will again be representing another high-profile Bucks player: Jabari Parker. Parker was the second overall selection in the 2014 draft and is regarded as one of the game’s up-and-coming stars. “I feel good about my decision,’’ said Parker, who had been represented by the Wasserman Media Group. “When it comes to Dr. Tucker. I have someone who fully supports me and will always be there for me.
“Kevin had this belief that if you were the leader, you couldn’t miss one snap of practice,” says Doc Rivers, who coached Garnett in Boston from 2007 to 2013. “But I had this belief that you are 30-whatever and I need you for the whole season.” And so in February 2009 the coach sat down his future Hall of Famer. Not to skip a game. Rivers just wanted him to miss a practice. “Coach, you don’t understand,” Garnett seethed. “If I’m sitting, they will see weakness.”
Garnett, forbidden to take the floor by his own coach, had concocted his revenge: He would track the movements of power forward Leon Powe, the player who had replaced him in the lineup. As Powe pivoted, so did Garnett. As Powe leaped to grab a defensive rebound, Garnett launched himself to corral an imaginary ball. As Powe snapped an outlet pass, Garnett mimicked the motion, then sprinted up his slim sliver of sideline real estate as Powe filled the lane on the break. The players were mirror images: one on the court with a full complement of teammates, the other out of bounds, alone. Two men engaged in a bizarre basketball tango. “KG,” Rivers barked, “if you keep doing this, I’m canceling practice for the whole team. That will hurt us.”
Nobody — not even Allen and Paul Pierce — were immune from KG’s outbursts. And although Garnett counts Rondo, whom he played with for six seasons in Boston, among his closest friends, he didn’t hesitate to boot the point guard from practice if he felt Rondo was going through the motions. According to Rivers, that happened more than once. “He’d tell Rondo, ‘Get the f— out! You’re not playing defense!'” Rivers says. “He told him the truth. Rondo needed more of that.”
That intensity followed him to the arena, where Garnett systematically ratcheted himself into a force to be reckoned with, both by the opposition and his teammates. “When Kevin came through those doors on game day, he was angry,” says Celtics guard Avery Bradley, who played with Garnett for three seasons. “We couldn’t laugh, talk, listen to music. We’d all hide in the training room or the bathroom — wherever KG wasn’t.”
It was for that reason, Ainge says, that he was careful which young players he entrusted to Garnett — and why Minnesota’s plan might be less than foolproof. Sometimes a player came in, Ainge says, “and it was a little scary to have KG around him. His work ethic was unquestioned, but he could be intimidating — and destructive — if the player didn’t respond in the right way.”