Hard Work for the New Celtics

ESPN The Magazine: A Fresh Coat

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the October 24 edition of ESPN The Magazine.

Kevin Garnett has always been the crazy one, the one who looks as if he's hopped into the shower in full gear and sneakers. His workout sessions are legendary, causing trainers to marvel and onlookers to gawk. Rookies in Minnesota have been awed. Vets working out in Vegas this summer were humbled. The force of his focused glare has made arena attendants afraid of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. You know, stuff like "You okay?" or "Want some Gatorade?"
It's the kind of crazy that helped make the 31-year-old Garnett the biggest thing to hit the Celtics since Larry Legend himself. Which is why, when KG first stepped into the Celtics' training facility in Waltham, Mass., he came brandishing what was sure to be a fresh ethos: Prepare as intensely as you play.
Instead, KG was the one who got the lesson.
It was 8 a.m. in early September, and Garnett was … late? Usually the first one in the gym, he walked in and found Paul Pierce, who already had been there long enough to work up a thick sweat. Pierce was too busy doing sit-ups and pounding the treadmill to offer a drawn-out hug. When KG looked through the window at the indoor court, he realized he wasn't even the second Celtic to have started his day. Ray Allen, also dripping, bolted around the floor, launching jumpers at a feverish pace.
Garnett looked back at Pierce, now grunting on the pull-up bar, then once again at Allen, now walking into the weight room to pick up some dumbbells. And that's when it hit the 12-year pro: He was with kindred spirits.
"When I'm in the gym, I see mugs looking at me like, What's wrong with him?" KG says, clenching his fists while his voice rises with each word. "I was looking at Ray and P the same way. But inside I was like, Yeah! This is what I'm talking about! That right there told me a lot about how we are going into this year."