Kevin Garnett says players from his generation couldn’t play in the modern NBA

Kevin Garnett yells at a Wolves game

A frequent theme among former NBA players is criticism, usually attributed to a lack of physicality, levied at those currently starring in the game for playing a type of basketball that simply would not work in bygone eras. Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley are examples of two stars from a different era who use their platforms to express those complaints, but then there’s Kevin Garnett, who used a recent interview with the New York Times Magazine to express seemingly the opposite opinion.

“I don’t think guys from 20 years ago could play this game,” Garnett said.

You could be forgiven for thinking that someone who played at the intensity that Garnett did during his career would have critiques of a game that has gone away from big men battling their defenders in the low post, and hand-checking down the lane. But the former Timberwolves and Celtics star lauded the modern game, saying the current play is “on another level.” He even issued a challenge to those who disagreed.

“I want you to get on a court, sprint corner to corner, stop on a dime and shoot a three,” Garnett said. “I want you to do 10 of those. Then I want you to focus on how tired you are. Because these players do that for 48 minutes.”

It’s certainly a big change of pace from Shaq publicly telling guards he doesn’t think they can’t take their career to the next level, though Garnett is not the only former player to heap praise on new generations of stars. The Instagram page of Allen Iverson, for example, has many posts of him with current players, praising their games endlessly in captions.

As he’s wont to do, however, Garnett also levied a shot at former players in general while offering compliments to the current game.

“I don’t know if even the guards from 20 or 30 years ago could play in this time right here,” the “Uncut Gems” star said. “It’s creative. It’s competitive. It’s saucy. You’ll get dropped! A [expletive] will cross you over and break your ACL these days. The game is in a great place.”

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