PLAYA VISTA – One of the best rivalries from 2008 to 2014 was LeBron James’ teams taking on Kevin Garnett’s teams. Whether James was playing the Cleveland Cavaliers or Miami Heat or Garnett was playing for the Boston Celtics or Brooklyn Nets, the two did not like each other at tipoff. Current LA Clippers head coach Doc Rivers also had his bouts with James over the years, both with the Celtics and the Clippers.
In a recent media tour promoting his new movie co-starring Adam Sandler, Garnett joined Bill Simmons’ podcast, where he made strong statements about ‘breaking’ James and forcing him to move on from the Cavs to the Miami Heat.
KG: “We broke LeBron, so get your sh*t out of here with that. You understand how he got to Cleveland, how he got to Miami, Bill? You remember that?”
BS: “Oh that’s true. You broke him in 2010. Fair enough.”
KG: “OK, so remember that, alright? Stop bringing it up. So they was talking sh*t to him, the media. And the league knew that they had an agenda in which we wasn’t a part of the agenda. And that’s how they ended up winning that series. Yeah, I said it…. Man listen, let me tell something to you. The C’s, we didn’t give a f*ck about LeBron. We didn’t fear LeBron, and we didn’t think that he could beat all five of us. And that’s how it felt. He was trying to consolidate because he didn’t want the pressure on him. You understand?”
Rivers coached the Celtics to the 2008 NBA Championship and had to go through LeBron James to win that one. In fact, he coached against James in four playoff series over a five-year span. Ahead of the Christmas Day showdown between the Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers, Rivers offered some insight in to the mind of Garnett following the comments that went viral.
“Well, there’s some stuff there,” admitted Rivers. “I will say this, and I didn’t hear it or see it and I have no idea and I am almost scared to answer for Kevin. Kevin is a warrior, a fighter and will never give anybody anything. But I guarantee you Kevin Garnett thinks LeBron is one of the greatest players to ever lace it up. Having said that, he wants to beat his brains out every time he sees him. He will never give an inch. So you appreciate both of those. There is nothing wrong with that. I feel the same way.”
Doc Rivers on Kevin Garnett’s comments about LeBron James – “Kevin is a warrior and will never give anybody anything. But I guarantee you KG thinks LeBron is one of the greatest players to ever lace it up. Having said that, he wants to beat his brains out every time he sees him.” pic.twitter.com/dAd9Fu053k
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) December 25, 2019
James ultimately got the last laugh, defeating the Celtics twice with the Miami Heat, including in a thrilling, seven-game series in 2012 that led to his first NBA Championship. Although Garnett has since retired, his passion for the game certainly hasn’t.
Rivers will continue his head-to-head, coach-vs-player matchup with LeBron James on Christmas night when the Clippers take on the Lakers, who are the hosts, starting at 5PM PST on ABC.