Jackie MacMullan, a gifted basketball writer who watched Kevin Garnett play in Boston and is now with ESPN, has written a very good piece about the notion of KG as a mentor.
She goes into great detail over many of his past mentees, noting that Garnett can be — to put it mildly — a demanding teacher.
The crux of the story:
So it is that Minnesota’s decision to entrust No. 1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns to the tutelage of Kevin Garnett is, to put it mildly, a compelling and sizable gamble. … Former teammate Chauncey Billups maintains that Garnett is the most unselfish superstar of his era and the most dynamic leader he has seen. Then again, if Towns is devoured by KG’s fire, he wouldn’t be the first. A partial list of ex-teammates who have endured the wrath of the Big Ticket includes Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Mason Plumlee, Ray Allen, Wally Szczerbiak, Rajon Rondo, Rasho Nesterovic, Patrick O’Bryant and Deron Williams. Some have survived to be welcomed into Garnett’s inner circle; others are forever dead to him. “If you don’t meet his expectations,” says Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, “he has no use for you.”
She builds compelling evidence, much of it to be digested in the eye of the beholder. What is good leadership? What does a good mentor do? Your answers to those questions will likely frame how you view Garnett.