The Hall of Fame class being enshrined Saturday stands together for a photo

Pregame Post-Ups: Stevens Comments on Legendary HOF Class

Saturday, May 15 - Celtics at Timberwolves

Pregame – Stevens Talks in Depth About Legendary HOF Class

Arguably the greatest Basketball Hall of Fame class in history, headlined by Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan, will be enshrined into the Hall today. Brad Stevens had a lot to say about the class prior to Saturday’s matchup with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Stevens opened up his Hall-of-Fame comments on Garnett, the 2008 Celtics champion who on Friday said that the only regret from his career is that he didn’t come to Boston sooner. Stevens has a unique perspective on Garnett that some may not have known prior to his pregame comments.

“First of all, Kevin and I are in the same high school class, so the first time I saw Kevin was in an AAU tournament on a court next to me,” Stevens shared. “And when he walked out on that court and I watched him running up and down the court, I was like, ‘Oh my goodness.’ He was the best kid in our class, obviously, and I had never seen anybody that was that mobile, that energetic and that talented in our class at least.”

Stevens then revealed what he has learned about Garnett since joining the Celtics nearly eight years ago through conversations with team employees who were around for the most recent Big Three era.

“I think it’s well-documented: what he did was more than how he played,” Stevens added. “His energy, his relentlessness, his demanding of excellence across the board from his team. Everybody that talks about those teams obviously talks about all the talent that they had, but that he was the spiritual guy that put them over the top every single day. The way that he led, the emotion that he played with, the care factor, all of that stuff… Accepting a coaching job five days after you trade a guy like that probably isn’t the smartest thing in the world, but I couldn’t be more of a fan.”

Moments later, Stevens dove into other members of this year’s class, including brand names like Bryant and Duncan, but also other inductees to whom Stevens has grown close over the years.

“Getting a chance to learn all I’ve learned about KG, coach against him, coach against Kobe, and obviously the unbelievable respect we all have for him and the great sadness that we all share that he doesn’t get a chance to live this moment today,” Stevens said. “Tim Duncan, had a chance to coach against him. Again, another guy that’s basically my age that you watched grow up and play and become one of the great players to ever play, and a true champion and a guy that you can reference to young players on what it’s like to lead with humility.”

Stevens then moved on to two lesser-known inductees who are also legends in his mind.

“I’ve got two friends going in, people that I think are really good friends and people that I got a chance to watch up close,” Stevens said, “and that’s Tamika Catchings, who in Indianapolis had an incredible run with the Fever and has come out to Boston on a couple of our retreats and things that we do. And she’s an incredible person, the way that she not only impacts her game but her community.”

Stevens continued, “And then I don’t know how many people in Boston know, but Barbara Stevens is about as good as it gets. She also spent every summer with us for a couple of days at our coaching get-togethers. A thousand wins at Bentley. I went and watched her practice one of our first years here because I was so intrigued by her and her thought process and the way that she coached. So it’s gonna be a really fun day to watch.”

It sure is. And for anyone who does watch, don’t ever forget it. This might be the most accomplished Hall of Fame class you’ll ever witness be enshrined.

- Marc D'Amico


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