As the elder statesman at this year's NBA All-Star Game, Kevin Garnett knows his days attending such events won't last much longer - if ever again.

That was the message he tried to deliver last week, only for it to come out as though he was thinking about retirement.

But for players who have been in the NBA for as long as Garnett has, to have the kind of individual and team success he has garnered through the years, is a reminder as to what he has meant to the league as a whole.

Although he played just six minutes for the East in their 143-138 loss to the Western Conference All-Stars, that in no way should diminish the impact he has had on the NBA.

But to fully embrace Garnett's impact on the league as a whole, look no further than the NBA's top young big men who played in Sunday's All-Star Game, most of whom in some form have benefited from Garnett.

"The most difficult thing in the NBA is to be consistent," said Golden State's David Lee. "His consistency and the way he has been on winning teams, the way he has been a leader, those things are tough to come by especially for as many years as he has done it."

And while Garnett admittedly has slowed down some in recent years, his impact on the game remains a strong one.

"Everyone in this league respects KG so much," said Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant. "His fire and passion for the game. And his skill."

All those qualities have certainly contributed to what has been a Hall of Fame-worthy career.

But what often separated Garnett from other superstars was his passion and intensity for the game, the kind of intangibles that serve as the hallmark for the body of work that is his NBA career.

"He's a Hall-of-Famer," said Memphis forward Zach Randolph. "He plays with a chip on his shoulder. That's the way guys need to approach the game. He's like that in the game and in practice. He always brings it. And he's a leader."