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."

Wednesday, June 29: B's not in Stamkos sweepstakes?

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Wednesday, June 29: B's not in Stamkos sweepstakes?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while laughing out loud at the mental image of Bill Lee rolling joints for Peter Gammons.

-- Dion Phaneuf says he’ll be at the Stanley Cup Day for Phil Kessel even though he’s still waiting for his own playoff glory.

-- Former NHL player Bryan Berard, who was defrauded out of much of his hockey earnings by his former financial advisors, is speaking out so other players don't make the same mistake.

-- Bob McKenzie appears on Vancouver radio and never mentions the Bruins as one of the teams that might be in the running for Steven Stamkos.

-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) James Mirtle sits down with Brendan Shanahan to discuss Shanahan's plan to fix the Maple Leafs.

-- In the interest of self-promotion, here’s my hit with Toucher and Rich this morning about a possible Bruins' offer sheet for Jacob Trouba.

-- Player agent Allan Walsh thinks that the interview period prior to July 1 is a terrible thing.

-- The Florida Panthers hire Roberto Luongo’s younger brother Leo to be their AHL team’s goalie coach.

-- Kudos to the NHL and their Hockey is for Everyone campaign for bringing the beautiful game of hockey to inner-city youth.

-- You may need Google Translate for this, but it looks like Dale Weise has played his last game for the Montreal Canadiens.

-- For something completely different: As mentioned above, this Bill Lee interview with Toucher and Rich is a phantasmagorical experience.

Red Sox aggressively chasing big-name pitchers like Fernandez, Cole

Red Sox aggressively chasing big-name pitchers like Fernandez, Cole

Sean McAdam talks with Toucher & Rich about how aggressive Dave Dombrowski will be in trying to acquire pitching help. The fact they made calls on Jose Fernandez and Gerrit Cole says they will be very aggressive.