Driven Garnett passing down lessons to younger teammates

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Driven Garnett passing down lessons to younger teammates

WALTHAM When it comes to Kevin Garnett, intensity is never in short supply.

Neither is motivation, something that he traces back to his days as a high school basketball star in Chicago.

One of the first superstars to make it coming straight from the high school ranks, Garnett had plenty of naysayers who didn't believe he would be anything other than another NBA bust.

Instead, the 7-foot big man has been one of the best players of this generation, a perennial all-star and a first ballot Hall of Famer whenever he decides to call it quits on his NBA career.

More and more these days, Garnett reflects on the many accomplishments he has throughout his career.

And when that happens, it's only natural that his mind drifts back to when he was one of the nation's top prep players whose size, length, athleticism and overall game made him a natural fit to someday play in the NBA.

But because of his age, there were many who weren't sure the skinny kid from South Carolina would ever develop into a decent NBA player, let alone a dominant force whose list of NBA achievements is lengthy.

It is those people - the critics - that for so long drove him to be more than just a good player, but one of the greatest to ever play in the NBA.

"When I came into the league, I was on just trying to prove something to myself and everybody who doubted me," Garnett said. "To this day, I'm still driven by them same things. I've never been short of encouragement, inspiration, things that are going to get me going. I've always found an edge and have been able to keep that."

And that edge is obvious to anyone who has played with or against him.

Current Celtic Paul Pierce has known Garnett ever since they were high school stars.

"He had it then, the spirit, the enthusiasm, he had the drive," Pierce said. "And it just seems like knowing him then to being around him now, it's still the same. It's unbelievable for a guy who has been playing basketball his whole life, has won pretty much every award, to still have the type of drive he has."

And now that he's nearing the end of his NBA basketball odyssey, Garnett finds himself playing the role of teacher for many of the game's young bigs.

This is particularly noticeable with Jared Sullinger, who has said on more than one occasion that he sees Kevin Garnett as a big brother-figure.

"Performance-wise, if I can help someone with anything that comes with this game, then I will share that," Garnett said. "I try to give myself as much to the team as I can. If you want to label that a big brother or a mentor, yeah, that's me."

Garnett is simply passing along the many lessons learned that when he was a young player trying to find his way in the league, were taught to him.

He credits former Minnesota Timberwolves forward Sam Mitchell as playing an instrumental role in his development; that and him moving from South Carolina to Chicago.

"Ever since I moved from the south to the north; you understand that Northern people are a lot more aggressive than Southern people," Garnett said. "One of the lessons I learned in living in Chicago, nobody's going to give you anything. You have to take it. I've carried that mentality into the league with me. Sam Mitchell has helped kind of massage that mentality.

Garnett added, "this is a man's league. I've never thought of it any other kind of way."

Report: Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Report: Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car crash in in the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning, according to ESPN's Cristian Moreno. Ventura was 25 years old.

Ventura was 13-8 with a 4.08 ERA for the Royals' 2015 World Series champions and 11-12 with a 4.45 ERA in 32 starts in 2016. The right-hander made his major league debut in 2013 and in 2014 went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA for Kansas City's A.L. pennant winners. 

Ironically, Ventura paid tribute to his good friend and fellow Dominican, Oscar Tavares, who was also killed in a car crash in the D.R. in October 2014, by wearing Tavares' initials and R.I.P. on his cap before Ventura's start in Game 6 of the World Series in 2014. 

Ventura is the second major league player to die in the past five months. Former Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in Miami on Sept. 25.


 

Patriots-Steelers game notes: Pats shooting for record ninth Super Bowl berth

Patriots-Steelers game notes: Pats shooting for record ninth Super Bowl berth

A quick look at the information you need to know about tonight's Patriots-Steelers game:

PATRIOTS-STEELERS PREGAME

TEAM RECORDS: Patriots 15-2, Steelers 13- 5

GAME TIME: 6:40 p.m. EST

TV: CBS

TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson

NATIONAL RADIO NETWORKS: Westwood One

NATIONAL RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan, Dan Fouts and Ross Tucker

LOCAL RADIO NETWORK: Anchored by WBZ-FM (98.5 The Sports Hub)

LOCAL RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Bob Socci and Scott Zolak

ALL-TIME SERIES BETWEEN THE TEAMS: Steelers lead, 15-14

LAST MEETING: Patriots 27, Steelers 16 on Oct. 23, 2016 at Heinz Field

* * * *
QUICK FACTS
-- Bill Belichick is coaching in his NFL-record 11th conference championship game. Tom Brady is playing in his NFL-record 11th conference championship game.

-- The Patriots are 8-4 in AFC Championship Games, including 5-1 in games played in Foxboro and 4-1 at Gillette Stadium.

-- The Patriots are 30-19 in postseason games, including 19-4 at home (3-1 at Schaefer/Sullivan/Foxboro Stadium, 16-3 at Gillette).

-- The Patriots' 30 postseason victories are tied with the 49ers for fourth-most in NFL history, behind the Cowboys (34), Steelers (34) and Packers (32).

-- The Patriots' .612 winning percentage in postseason games is third-best in NFL history, behind the Ravens (15-8, .652) and Packers (34-21, .618).

* * * *
MILESTONES
-- If the Patriots win today they will qualify for their ninth Super Bowl, most in NFL history. They are currently tied with the Cowboys, Broncos and Steelers at eight.

-- If the Patriots win today, Robert Kraft will set an NFL record for most conference championships by an owner (8) in the Super Bowl era. He is currently tied with the Denver Broncos' Pat Bowler at seven.

-- If the Patriots win today, Bill Belichick will move into a tie with Bill Walsh for third place on the NFL list of best postseason coaching winning percentage. Belichick (who would be 25-10 with a victory) and Walsh (10-4) would have .714 winning percentage. Belichick is currently in fifth place, two percentage points behind Joe Gibbs (17-7, .708). Vince Lombardi (9-1, .900) is in first place and Tom Flores (8-3. .727) is second.

-- If the Patriots win today, Belichick will advance to his seventh Super Bowl as a head coach, which would be most in NFL history. He is currently tied with Don Shula at six.

-- Tom Brady (8) needs one more playoff game with three or more touchdown passes to tie Joe Montana (9) for most three-plus TD playoff games since the 1970 NFL merger.

-- Stephen Gostkowski (142) needs 11 points to tie Gary Anderson for third place on the NFL's all-time list of kicking points in the postseason. Adam Vinatieri (234) is first and David Akers (175) is second.

-- Julian Edelman (76) needs nine receptions to tie Andre Reed (85) for sixth place on the NFL's all-time list of postseason receptions. Michael Irvin is fifth at 88, and Hines Ward and Wes Welker are tied for third at 88.

* * * *
TONIGHT'S OFFICIALS
-- REFEREE: Terry McAulay. UMPIRE: Rich Hall. HEAD LINESMAN: Wayne Mackie. LINE JUDGE: Mark Perlman. FIELD JUDGE: Scott Edwards. SIDE JUDGE: Boris Cheek. BACK JUDGE: Tony Steratore. ALTERNATES: John Parry, Mark Steinkerchner, Rich Martinez. REPLAY OFFICIAL: Mike Wimmer. SUPERVISOR: Gary Slaughter.