ESPN.com reports that Joakim Noah “doesn’t like” Kevin Garnett. Even though the NBA is a business, for Noah, this is personal:
“I had his poster in my room,” Noah said. "I used to wear his jersey. And the truth is my rookie year, I was in admiration of this guy, and he kind of shut me down.
“And he was very mean to me my rookie year. And he’s only mean to the young guys and the [European players], for some reason. I don’t know why, but that’s who he doesn’t like. He’s not nice. I talk a lot of trash out there, but c’mon, be a little sensitive. Be sweet.”
Noah’s comments corroborate with another rumor that recently came up about Kevin Garnett’s disgust with rookies. This particular incident went down similarly as an assistant coach with the Indiana Pacers asked KG to speak with Pacers rookies AJ Price and Tyler Hansborough, which KG responded glibly when he walked by them: “(bad word) your rookies.”
Whether or not that story is true, or if Joakim Noah’s story is true either, it must be tough to handle when your childhood hero rejects you. It’s a “man’s game” and rookie hazing is a right of passage rather than a funny joke played out over 8 months of the year. But that must be quite a let down when your idol, not even your colleague as Noah and others are more star-struck than anything, reduces you to an f-bomb or some other diss on and off the court.
Noah might be instigating since they have pre-existing beef. Garnett’s apparent nativism is cause for worry too. Maybe it was something Marko Jaric did during their time together in Minnesota?
Whatever it is, Noah call for players to be more “sweet” is rather sweet. Hopefully he will be just as sweet towards his colleagues tonight and not hurt the Warriors too badly.