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Brad Stevens' story of playing in the same AAU tournament as Kevin Garnett

The Celtics coach reflected on the time he shared the same floor as Garnett, while still wearing a jersey.

BOSTON - He may be an NBA coach, but it's easy to forget that Brad Stevens, at age 39, is the same age as Kevin Garnett.

When they were 17 years old, they even play in the same AAU tournament.

"We played at AAU tournaments growing up," Stevens said. "We played in one in Louisville for sure.

"I'm the same age as Kevin. I played in gyms when he was playing on the court next to me. And I would sneak a peek while I sat on the bench for our team and watched his game."

It's hard to remember a time when Garnett wasn't a superstar and remarkable presence in the game. But Stevens was there when the transformation took place.

"He wasn't highly touted when we walked in the gym. He was when we all saw him. He was long, agile, athletic and a heck of a player. Everybody knew him by then...even before the internet."

Stevens waxed poetic about the Celtics and Wolves legend, who is walking off into the sunset mentoring his heir apparent Karl-Anthony Towns.

"He's special," Stevens said. "Anytime you get a chance to coach a great player that's a great leader, that will run through the wall for the team he is playing for, who wouldn't want to play with him?"

So how would Garnett fare in Stevens' line of work?

"I think it would be great. He would be great."

Towns seems to agree.

"KG's awesome. He's an awesome mentor. Everything he is teaching, I'm just trying to absorb and be the best player I can be."

Garnett has Towns setting the bar extremely high from day one.

"Mostly, not even how to be a pro, but be a hall of famer. What you have to do is work and do everything you need to do to be the best player you can possibly be at your position."

But that takes some incredible intensity. Does Towns have it in him? " Uh...yeah. I'm trying to match it. If I can, I'm trying to match it. It's just one of those things where you have a hall of famer in the gym, you just want to listen."

Garnett has hinted that he intends to step into the shadows once he hangs his jersey, but one last round as a leader has given him a more positive experience than the darkness of the Barclays Center with the Nets.

"They're keeping me young, at times," Garnett said. "The overall experience is a great one, to be honest. We got some good young guys who are going to be very promising in the future. I'm looking forward to it. I'm having some fun here, but there's never a dull moment around here. I'll tell you that."

Towns is in good hands, with a mentor who may be around in Minnesota for years to come. Especially since he and Stevens are bound to share the stage again.


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