EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

October 26, 2008

The Garnett Effect

Fiery big man has transformed Celtics from also-rans into world champions

Throwing a basketball at Kevin Garnett's head requires an almost inhuman level of fearlessness. It might explain why Tom Hammonds, a man nicknamed "The Terminator," did exactly that 10 years ago.

"He had muscles coming out of his earlobes," former teammate Bill Curley said.

One early spring afternoon in 1998, The Terminator was ready to bring the pain. Garnett had just thrown down a huge dunk, practically leaving a Spalding imprint on Hammonds' forehead.

They quickly started jawing at each other. Then Hammonds unloaded his bazooka.

"All of a sudden," Curley said, "they were tangled up."

The day the Minnesota Timberwolves were scheduled to fly west to face the Seattle SuperSonics in the first round of the playoffs, Hammonds and Garnett were going at it at practice.¬�

"Crap," Curley thought. "We can't have these two fighting."

The scuffle was quickly broken up, but not before Garnett let every single person inside University of Minnesota's Williams Arena know that The Terminator didn't scare him.

"I'm not afraid of your kung fu (expletive)," Garnett screamed.

But a few minutes later, they were buddies again. It was like the whole thing never happened.

"That's just the type of competitor he is," Hammonds said from his office in Florida. "Him and I, we were a couple of best friends. We respected each other."

A decade later, nothing's changed. Hammonds, 41, may have retired from the NBA seven years ago, but he's still a huge Garnett fan. In addition to Bernard King, Hammonds said, KG was the most influential superstar he ever played with.

"He's a high energy player and a high energy person," said the 6-foot-9 Hammonds, who's moved on to the drag racing world — he's the only African-American owner/driver in the National Hot Rod Association. "That's just the way he plays the game. He wouldn't be the same player otherwise."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports

Local Sports Videos
Sports Videos
Wrigley Field celebrates 100th birthday Phelps returns to the pool Pujols joins 500 club Wall: 'This was a make or break year for me' Klatt's Mock Draft: Top 10 Klatt's Mock Draft: Late 1st round Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft NHL playoff preview: Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings NHL playoff preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens NHL playoff preview: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Carolina Panthers NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Atlanta Falcons Too Hot or Too Cold: Brewers and Rangers NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Baltimore Ravens NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Arizona Cardinals NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs – Oakland Raiders NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs – Houston Texans NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs – Jacksonville Jaguars Olympic Great Michael Phelps Ending Retirement
Boston Sports
Pineda: Put pine tar because he didn't want to hit anyone Farrell on Pineda: 'When it's that obvious, something has to be said' McAdam: Both sides respond to Pineda getting ejected for using pine tar Sox finally call out Pineda for pine tar use Felger vs Tanguay: The Marchand tripping debate Wrigley Field celebrates 100th birthday Phelps returns to the pool Pujols joins 500 club Wall: 'This was a make or break year for me' Klatt's Mock Draft: Top 10 Klatt's Mock Draft: Late 1st round Merloni: Transfer Rule 'ruining the game' Gomes: Ceremony showed healing is ongoing Pedroia: Game-winning play 'kind of a crazy deal' Babcock: 'An exercise in skating up and down the rink' Rask: Chara's become better at screening Miller: Flu 'a scary situation' Florek: 'It's a feeling I've never felt before' Iginla hungry for first Stanley Cup Running Strong: How the Bruins National Anthem brought Boston together