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The astonishing lesson learned from Kevin Garnett's top 50 plays [VIDEO]

Kevin Garnett did battle with the NBA's greats. And won.

Kevin Garnett did battle with the NBA's greats. And won.

 There are a couple moments in this career highlight reel that make Kevin Garnett seem cruel.

Chasing down the slow little Andre Miller to block his shot? Leaping high above the flat-footed giant Shawn Bradley to dunk on his head, upper body, and diminished soul?

C'mon man. That's just mean.

Then again, Garnett, who announced his retirement after 21 years of NBA basketball on Friday, was never one to show mercy to a weak opponent. The job is to block or dunk on the man in front of you. If one day you looked up and found you were the guy in front of Garnett, our condolences to your family.

But the top-50 highlight reel the NBA published Friday night has something to teach us. Watch for how often Garnett battled the greatest players of his generation and beat them on their own terms. 

Watch him outwit Tim Duncan. Watch him be smoother than Chris Webber. 

Watch Garnett be more explosive than Amare Stoudemire. Craftier than Rasheed Wallace. Fiercer than Blake Griffin. More determined than Hakeem Olajuwon. Stronger than Shaq.

He went after them all. And beat them at their own game.

Was he best big man of the past 25 years? Tough question. Try asking those guys.