They come from all parts of the country, even the world, and as young big men good enough to play in the NBA, they’ve shared a truly strange experience.

Almost to a man, they have been cussed out, elbowed and glared at by their idol, Kevin Garnett.

Chicago’s Joakim Noah, once called a “nobody” by Garnett, learned some irritating lessons from his childhood hero about how to dish back ornery behavior.

Last Wednesday both players had a good 3 feet on either side as they crossed the lane during a timeout at the Garden, but neither even considered stepping wide. They bumped shoulders, and Garnett immediately threw up his right hand in an abrupt, dismissive gesture. Noah responded by throwing both of his hands in the air, eyes trained on the nearest official, and only then did each player step away.

Asked before the game if he had grown up with a Garnett poster, Noah giggled.

“I did have a poster, and a jersey,” he said. “Not Boston, though. Minnesota.”