DALLAS — All-Star Weekend is viewed by many players as friendly competition. Yet for Kevin Garnett, it still was very much a game that he wanted to win. After the East defeated the West on Sunday night, Garnett’s teammates revealed the impact he made on the squad.
Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic — “It was just like normal. We can watch him on TV and he’s always intense. He was the only one that was intense the whole game.”
Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks — “[His intensity] is a good thing. When he’s on my side, I love it. I really had a great time with all those guys, and he really is that intense player. I think people, it maybe goes underrated, how big of a leader he is. He really came in here and made everybody feel welcome and comfortable and really gave us good advice. Right away, he congratulated us first-timers here, and just throughout the week[end] he really encouraged us the right way. He’s a true leader.”
Rajon Rondo, Celtics — “I really wasn’t on the bench with KG. When he was playing I was sitting and vice versa, so for the most part KG is KG. … He had a lot of intensity [during the Three-Point Shootout]. But we wanted our guy to win, Paul [Pierce]. We rooted for Paul. We were over there cheering like we were actual fans, which we were. Paul did a great job. We were over there talking a lot of trash, especially KG.”
Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks — “Man, every year we’ve played in this game he’s been the same way, and that’s intense from the start to finish. He always wants to win. And I know that this is a fun event for fans, but for us as players, we still want to win. He brings that winning attitude every year. It’s been amazing to see that and he’s a great, great person and teammate.”
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls — “He was just telling me just to get the jitters out with my first shot, I should just drive to the hole, don’t shoot the jump shot because I might elbow or something like that. But he was just kidding around, just telling me to go out there and play my regular game. … It means a lot. You see how many stars he’s got on that back of his shirt. He’s got 13, 14 stars on the back of his shirt, so he definitely was like the leader on this team.”
The following quotes were collected by by Jessica Camerato and passed on to me from Coach Eric Musselman.