KEY POINTS

  • Udonis Haslem won three titles with the Miami Heat
  • Haslem does not think Kevin Garnett is a "tough guy"
  • Garnett is one of five players to win both MVP and DPOY

Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett established a reputation for his intensity and tough-as-nails persona on the court throughout his NBA career.

A 15-time All-Star, Garnett is one of only five players to have won both the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year honors.

On the court, he is also best known for utilizing smack talk to get in the heads of opponents.

Miami Heat veteran Udonis Haslem is not a fan of such antics, saying he does not see the Minnesota Timberwolves legend as a "tough guy."

"Tough guy, you said? Two of those guys [Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan], I will probably consider as tough guys, that's more so mentally tough," Haslem said according to Brendan Tobin when asked about the three 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame inductees.

"And one of those guys just do a lot of [trash talk]. That's not tough at all," Haslem added, firing shots in an obvious reference to Garnett.

Being in the league since 2003 and playing the power forward position, the 6-foot-8 Haslem shared many encounters on the floor with Garnett.

When the 2004 MVP transferred to the Boston Celtics as part of the "Big Three" that included Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, Haslem's Heat developed a memorable Eastern Conference rivalry from 2008 to 2012.

When Haslem and the Heat won the 2012 title with their own "Big Three" of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, they eliminated the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Heat also beat the Brooklyn Nets in 2014 when Garnett joined the squad via a megadeal.

"The definition of tough guy don't go by guys who do this. You probably would want to take KG off that tough guy list," Haslem emphasized. "Don't be loosely throwing around 'tough guy.'"

Haslem himself went viral last season when he tried to fire up the Heat huddle in one of its timeouts during the 2020 NBA Finals, taking advantage of the veteran leadership role he has earned.

The 40-year-old veteran went on to praise Bryant's leadership and mentality, while describing Spurs legend Duncan as a "quiet assassin" who could "fry you like chicken and have 30 [points] and 15 [rebounds a game]."

Make no mistake, Haslem has respect for Garnett's greatness as a player.

"Great basketball player, yes. Those guys' competitive spirit, the way they lead their teams in all those different ways," he said.

But as far as Garnett being a tough guy, Haslem's stance won't change.

"KG chooses a route that I really don't condone. A lot of that talk and disrespect. You can't take away from what he's done on the basketball court."

Udonis Haslem Head coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat laughs with Dwyane Wade #3 and Udonis Haslem #40 as they check into the game against the Philadelphia 76ers at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida, April 09, 2019. Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images