Sweaty as can be and looking like he's already played a half of basketball before the action gets underway, Garnett's routine has been imitated often.
Now, we finally have insight into what's going on with KG. Andrew Keh of the New York Times has the details from Garnett's former and current teammates:
"Kevin is a creature of habit, and he's done the same thing his entire career, from Day 1," said Sam Mitchell.
Mitchell, who played 13 N.B.A. seasons, said every player had a “go switch,” a method to become mentally engaged before tipoff. Garnett just happens to have a particularly overt and complicated one.
Is Kevin Garnett the toughest player in the NBA?
Now it gets interesting:
Eyes down, he leans his forehead into the padding and begins adjusting his uniform, tucking his shirt into his shorts, stretching the elastic waistband, tugging on the drawstring. All the time, he is mumbling under his breath.
So what does it take for KG to get going?
“Some players like to be jovial before the game to release pressure,” Mitchell said. “Kevin likes to build the pressure.”
The one thing we definitely know about Garnett is that he's intense in everything he does, and that passion is part of what makes him an all-time classic.
There will never be another player quite like Garnett once he does ultimately ride off into the sunset and call it a career, but those who have watched him play are lucky to do so.