After over 20 years of training many of the best players in the world, it isn’t often that a player, or a particular workout stands out in any way. In fact, there are times when I have to really focus to raise my level, and deliver the best workout possible.
Fifteen years ago, a young All-Star, Kevin Garnett, made a commitment to me to work, to train, and allow me to help him become the best player he can be. His work ethic was insane, his focus was intense, and his commitment to excellence was abundant, and obvious in all his success. I remember being a young trainer flying around with KG, training all over the country, never missing a workout no matter what time we landed. I was always stressed to give him my best and make sure he was pushed every time we stepped on the court or into the weight room.
When Minnesota traded for Kevin to bring him back to where it all started, Kevin was in Los Angeles and wanted to stay sharp before his departure to Minnesota. I found myself back with KG, Andrew Moore who works with me, my 14 year old son, Jack, and 2 basketballs in an empty high school gym in Malibu. Still after all these years, All-Star games, MVP’s, and over $300 million in contracts alone, KG was ready to work and asked me, “what you wanna start with.” I said, “let’s get some spots to warm up.” Well, we shot spots, and Kevin went on to make 70 of his first 72 shots – yes, to warm up. At the end of the spots, he was drenched in sweat and simply said, “What you want next.” For 4 days we worked. And for 4 days I was continually amazed at his intensity and focus – as if I had forgotten and needed to be reminded what a “workout” really was. The guy is amazing.
What it reminded me was that the REAL key – above analytics, fancy equipment, all these crazy gadgets being sold to “help your skills.” and all the other crazy things I’ve seen pop up in my last 20 years of training players – is that you gotta WORK. You gotta SWEAT. You gotta PUSH YOURSELF ON EVERY REP. You gotta VISUALIZE greatness. You gotta train with HEART.
I am blessed my son was able to be around KG his career and I can tell you I wish EVERY kid in the world who wants to be a good basketball player had a chance to watch Kevin workout for 10 minutes. It would change his or her approach to training.
What KG reminded me was the same thing that guys like Billups, Harrington, Prince, Lue, and the other “early clients” laid as the foundation for my training career and for IMPACT – that we work harder than anyone. We focus more on the things that truly make great players, We build character through our training. And we know that there are absolutely NO shortcuts to being great.