Kevin Garnett pleads for fans to start appreciating LeBron James, other superstars, instead of focusing on the past

Jason Simpson
4 Min Read
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

NBA legend Kevin Garnett thinks the basketball world needs to live in the moment instead of focusing on the past.

During a conversation with sports analyst Stephen A. Smith, Garnett passionately explained that folks are “missin’ out on greatness” by reminiscing on legends of the past instead of appreciating what the NBA currently has to offer.

He pointed to Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry and San Antonio Spurs phenom Victor Wembanyama as a few examples of modern greatness.

“The problem, I think, with today is that we are so hung up on the yesteryear of the culture and the history that built the league that, bro, we’re missin’ out on greatness right in front of us,” he said. “LeBron James is 38 motherf—— years old, doin’ somethin’ we ain’t never seen. We got a whole 7’6″ Frenchman in the goddamn league. He’s a rookie, lookin’ like he’s a two, three-year-old player, lookin’ like he’s a guard. … Listen, Wilt Chamberlain is rolling over his grave right now if we told him a 6’10” power forward was playin’ center and jumps this high is the best –.”

Garnett cut himself off before finishing that last sentence, but it seems like he may have been referring to Denver Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic, who many see as the best player in the NBA today.

“Bro, we gotta get off it, bro,” he continued. “Bro, we gotta get off this. You know why, Steve? I say this, bro, and I’ll say this. And I’ll say this to the world. I’m glad we on here. But we gotta get over this. Michael Jordan, Magic [Johnson], they are the past. We gotta embrace this new ish. Bro, we ain’t never seen Steph Curry. We ain’t never seen nothin’ like Steph Curry. Steph Curry shoots from Mars, bro. We keep talkin’ bout Jerry West. Shoutout to Jerry West, was a super goon, did great things for the league, but yeah, we’re in a new time, bro. Jerry West ain’t never seen this type of range.”

Garnett’s career began in the 1995-96 season and ran through the 2015-16 season. He spent 21 years in the NBA and was able to experience multiple eras, making him entirely qualified to speak on a topic like this one.

While some folks feel that the NBA has gotten softer over the years and changed for the worse, others feel that the league has never been more talented than it currently is.

James is certainly a prime example of modern greatness in the NBA. The future Hall of Famer will turn 39 years old next month, but he’s still averaging 25.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game in his 21st season.

Meanwhile, players like Wembanyama represent how bright the league’s future is, and major differences between superstars like Jokic and Curry show how today’s game allows many types of players to be successful.

On the contrary, some folks will always prefer past NBA legends like Jordan, Chamberlain, Johnson and West, all of whom played in eras of the NBA that would be virtually unrecognizable to many modern basketball fans.

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Jason is excited about the LeBron James era of Lakers basketball and hopes that the end result will be multiple championships.