ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Kevin Garnett wasn’t doing all that much with the Brooklyn Nets this season — he’s been in the NBA 20 years, and was averaging about 7 points and 6 rebounds a game. Still, the Minnesota Timberwolves wanted to trade for KG, because they have a young team and KG is known for being a terrific leader and teammate.
But what does Garnett do that makes him such a great teammate? Jessica Camerato from BasketballInsiders.com caught up with Lester Hudson, the journeyman guard who just signed a 10-day contract with the Los Angeles Clippers. When Hudson was a rookie with the Celtics back in 2009, he was teammates with Garnett, who took Hudson under his wing.
“He was like a big brother,” Hudson told Basketball Insiders. “I felt it was genuine. You’ve got to respect him; he’s one of the greatest players in the league. I was focusing on what he was saying, I didn’t care if it was bad or good.”
Garnett referred to Hudson as “Train,” a nickname demonstrative of the strength Hudson used driving to the basket.
In December of that season while the Celtics were in Chicago to play the Bulls, Hudson received a directive from Garnett. It wasn’t the first time Garnett made a request – as a rookie, Hudson often ran errands for him and other veterans. This one was vague, though.
“‘Train, come to the store with me,’” Hudson recalled. “‘Meet me downstairs at this time.’ You can’t be late with KG. I was probably 10 minutes early. He was like, ‘Come on let’s go.’”
Hudson left the team hotel with Garnett, not knowing where they were headed. As they walked down the street, Garnett filled the conversation with more words of encouragement. The talk ended as they approached the destination.
Hudson gazed upon the building: the Louis Vuitton store.
“He told me to pick out whatever I wanted,” said Hudson. “I was like, ‘Are you serious right now?’ He said, ‘You work hard and I respect you. You help me out a lot.’”
Hudson was shocked. Soon, Garnett began making recommendations. Get a scarf, Garnett offered, it’s cold in Boston and Chicago. (Garnett often wore a designer scarves in his postgame interviews while on the Celtics). The store was Hudson’s for the picking.
“I got a couple scarves, skullies, a backpack, shoes, belts,” Hudson said. “I think he just got me everything.”