"Everybody says they want to win, but sometimes actions are different than words."
—Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics' Power Forward, Team Defender and Chief Motivator
Every athlete hopes to come away with a "W" when the final whistle blows. But the only way to turn such hopes into achievements is through hard work and dedication.
What separates a successful athlete from the rest is his or her work ethic. True champions are willing to do whatever it takes on the practice court to gain even the slightest edge over the competition.
Although many pro athletes dedicate themselves to the goal of winning a championship, few prepare as intensely as the Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett. Since skipping college to become the fifth overall pick in the '95 NBA Draft, KG has never stopped training with an all-out mentality.
"I was raised from a mom who worked hard, from a household who believed that working is everything, with the belief that nothing is given to you; you have to go and earn it," Garnett said in a past interview. His off-court training and on-court work reflect it.
During his 12 years with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the dominating seven-footer transformed a struggling franchise into a playoff contender. Garnett's on-court determination and intense training regimen led to an NBA MVP Award in 2004, when he averaged more than 24 points and 13 rebounds a game. [Click here for KG's complete training routine.]
Six elements that KG incorporates in his year-round training program are strength, performance, nutrition, corrective work/flexibility, on-court work and recovery. Changing the intensity level of each element according to the time of year helps him stay mentally focused at all times. "What I love about [the] program is that it's completely balanced," Garnett said. "It's helped me. It's helped my game; it's helped me mentally; and it's helped me physically to endure the pounding of an 82-plus game season."
When long seasons take a toll, KG slows down and refocuses. Hours after missing two critical free throws during Game Five of the '08 NBA Finals, Boston's #5 hit the practice court, refining his shot to guard against making the same mistake again. Garnett posted 26 points and 14 rebounds in Game Six to help the Celtics clinch their record-setting 17th NBA championship.
"To be a leader, you have to be the one to initiate," Garnett stated. "Because, if I want somebody to work hard and dig, they've got to see my footprints."
Sixteen years into his pro career, KG continues to outhustle his opponents. To see how the 14-time NBA All-Star outworks the league's best, watch the video below.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock