Boston Celtics star Kevin Garnett is a physically imposing figure. When he yells, you should probably listen, take notes, and maybe check your underwear to make sure the coast is clear.
Shooting guard Avery Bradley realized this early on in his career. The 21-year-old recently discussed how much leadership Garnett brings to the table, even admitting he was once a little terrified of The Big Ticket during practice.
"I didn’t want to get in, because I was so scared of KG yelling at me if I messed up," Bradley said at the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation’s Summer Soiree, according to WEEI.com. "I would sit on the sideline. I might not even get in the whole practice, because I didn’t want KG to yell at me."
Bradley said he would eventually overcome his fear, but it may have been due in large part to Garnett’s encouragement during Bradley’s rookie year. KG took the youngster under his wing and guided him down the promising path he’s now on.
"One day, KG saw me on the bus," Bradley said. "I had my hoodie on. I was a little down. I wasn’t playing. He could tell I wasn’t the same Avery, always smiling but shy, and he told me, ‘You know what? I was sitting back in my room last night watching tapes of you in high school. If you continue to work how hard you work every day and never give up, the way you played in high school, you’ll play in the NBA.’ "
Those words obviously triggered something inside Bradley, who took over a starting role last spring after performing admirably in place of a banged-up Ray Allen. Bradley averaged 7.6 points in 21.4 minutes per game in 64 contests (28 starts). Expectations have now been raised.
"Then, one day I’m on the bus after a game, and all KG said was, ‘I told you,’ " Bradley added. "At first I had no clue what he was talking about. He always sits in the back of the bus and tells his stories, and he’s like, ‘I told you that. If you continue to work . . . hard work always pays off.’ Coming from KG, that made me feel good and made me want to keep working, so I can be like him."