Wallace And Garnett Go Way Back
|07.09.09 at 9:35 pm ET|
By Greg Cameron
WALTHAM — Competition breeds success. When talking about Kevin Garnett and new Celtic teammate Rasheed Wallace, it could also be said that competition breeds friendship.
The newest Celtic has a lengthy history with each of the Celtics’ Big Three, but the bond is visibly strongest between Wallace and Garnett. The former believes that their journey as friends began on a warm June night in Toronto, some 14 years ago.
“I would have to say it goes all the way back to draft night,” Wallace said. “Going up against him while he was in Minnesota and I was in Portland, it was a battle. It was really the mutual respect.”
That night, Wallace was selected fourth overall that night by the Washington Bullets. Garnett was taken with the next selection by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
It was visible on the dais, that all involved in the acquisition of Wallace believe the partnership between player and team will pay off with big dividends. Like Wallace, Garnett could do little to hide his excitement Thursday at the Celtics’ training facility in Waltham.
“I’m overly excited,” Garnett said. “This isn’t just a key addition to our team, but a major one. We’re like teenagers up here. It feels like AAU basketball all over again.”
“It’s a whole new world, a whole new day,” Wallace said of the new chapter. “I can’t wait to get to training camp and get things going.”
A visible as the excitement was on the faces of both men, both players show a great deal of passion and intensity out on floor. But who is the most fiery of the two of them?
“I would have to say I am,” Wallace said with a wry smile. “He [Garnett] can control his emotions. I don’t think you can match the intensity that either one of us brings to the floor.”
Garnett has a much more succinct explanation of the demeanor both players have on the court.
“That’s called passion,” Garnett emphatically stated.
Garnett’s road to Thursday’s press conference was far more direct than that Wallace — he has played in just two NBA cities, whereas Wallace has cris-crossed the American landscape four times before landing this week in the Hub.
Now, close to a decade and a half later, the former rivals, current teammates, and long-time friends see themselves at the same junction, some 14 years after waiting together in an NBA Draft green room in Ontario. The journey for both men is far from over, and both men hope their joining of forces will lead them to a second title.