Kevin Garnett’s Area 21 segments on NBA on TNT coverage have gotten plenty of attention for how they differ from the usual sports media fare, from ignored bleep buttons to “I’m not a host” to “I wanted to be able to have something that not only reflects me, but is me” to deep conversations with people like Jemele Hill and Shams Charania. Throughout it all, Garnett brings a lot of the passion and intensity he was known for on the court. So it’s not exactly surprising that Garnett takes that same approach to developing younger players.
But it’s certainly notable to see exactly how that plays out and how Garnett tries to mentor these young talents, and the new Players Only Films series from NBA Digital (managed by a Turner/NBA partnership) illustrates that. Here’s the first episode, which launched on Facebook Watch Tuesday, featuring Garnett with Texas big man and hot draft prospect Mo Bamba:
There’s plenty of interesting stuff in there, including Garnett’s conversation with Bamba about why he left Harlem to go to school in New Hampshire, their discussion of Bamba as a stretch four (a power forward with an outside shot) or a “unicorn” (a unique player), and Bamba’s rankings of current NBA bigs.
But it’s particularly notable to see Garnett training Bamba in the gym in most of the second half here, and not only the different elements Garnett is bringing in, but also the intensity he brings to it. Bamba says “He did a pretty good job of breathing fire into me,” and viewers can definitely feel that. And it’s constructive and helpful, but the intensity is still there. This series is definitely Garnett being Garnett, and there may be a fair bit of appeal there for viewers. There’s a second installment coming up too with fellow draft prospect Jaren Jackson Jr., which will release Wednesday. Here’s an advance look at that:
The “athlete or coach training prospects” idea has been done plenty of times, but it still can be interesting with the right combination of trainer and trainee. And Garnett certainly brings some notable twists of his own.
[Players Only Films on Facebook]