Kevin Garnett was born in Mauldin, South Carolina to Shirley Garnett and O'Lewis McCullough. Garnett played for Mauldin High School for his first 3 years in high school. During the summer just before his senior year of high school, Kevin was in the area where a fight between black and white students broke out. Although, not directly involved, Garnett was arrested along with the others who were fighting. Due to the racially charged incident and fear of being a target, Garnett decided to leave Mauldin and transfer to Farragut Career Academy in Chicago, Illinois for his senior year. He led Farragut to a 28-2 record and was named National High School Player of the Year by USA Today. He was named Mr. Basketball for the State of Illinois after averaging 25.2 points, 17.9 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 6.5 blocks. In four years of high school, Garnett posted an impressive 2,533 points, 1,807 rebounds and 739 blocked shots. He was named the Most Outstanding Player at the McDonald's All-American Game with 18 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocked shots. He then declared himself eligible for the 1995 NBA Draft directly out of high school.
Garnett was drafted with the fifth pick of the 1995 NBA Draft by the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves. He was featured on the cover of the June 26, 1995 Sports Illustrated under the title of "Ready or Not..." Garnett initially came off the bench in his rookie year, but moved into the starting lineup soon after the Wolves replaced head coach Bill Blair with Flip Saunders. Garnett did not immediately leap to stardom, but he had a very respectable rookie year. He averaged 10.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game and was voted into the All-Rookie Second Team. He also played for the Western Conference squad in the 1996 Schick Rookie Game during All-Star Weekend in San Antonio. At the time Garnett was the youngest NBA player in history at 19 years and 11 months of age.
During the 1997-98 NBA season, the Timberwolves and Garnett agreed on a six-year contract extension that was worth an astounding $126 million. This was met with shock around the NBA, and the Timberwolves were used as scapegoats for the lockout that occurred the next season. The contract was a risky move and it was widely speculated that this would keep the Wolves from signing players needed to build around Garnett. Despite the furor over his new contract, Garnett continued to improve, averaging 18.5 points, 9.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.8 blocks, and 1.7 steals per game in his 3rd season. It was during the lockout-shortened season that followed that Garnett broke through as a superstar, averaging 20.8 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.8 blocks per game.
Over the next few seasons, Garnett continued to improve but the Wolves just didn't have enough surrounding him and the team continued to struggle. One of the setbacks came in the 2000-01 season when Timberwolves' guard Malik Sealy was killed by a drunk driver and in the same season, the NBA ruled that the free agent signing of Joe Smith was illegal. The league stripped the team of three first-round draft picks as partial punishment for the illegal signing.
In the 2003-04 NBA season, things finally seemed to come together for Garnett. The Wolves brought in Spreewell along with Sam Cassell to give Garnett some help. Surrounded by the best supporting cast in his career, Garnett averaged 24.2 points, 13.9 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 2.2 blocks and 1.5 steals per game, earning him the MVP award. The Wolves made it to the conference finals but were beaten 4-2 by the Lakers. In spite of Garnett putting up All Star numbers year after year, the Wolves have gone downhill and this led to this off season trade.
KG is the first player in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists per game for 6 consecutive seasons which he did from 1999-2005. He is also the first player to average at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists per game for 9 consecutive seasons which he did from 1998-2007. And he is the only player in the NBA to reach at least 18,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 4,000 assists, 1,200 steals, and 1,500 blocks in his playing career.
Ray Allen isn't the only player to star in a movie, KG portrayed Wilt Chamberlain in the movie "Rebound". He also has starred in many commercials. He has a tattoo of his initials, "KG," and another of an arm holding a basketball with the words "Blood, Sweat and Tears".
A quote from Sam Cassell gives you an idea of the impact that KG will have on our team.
I've never met anyone like him," teammate Sam Cassell says. "Ticket, hell, Ticket got me coming -- and wanting to come -- to practice. I've never liked practice. But since I've been [in Minnesota], seeing what he does everyday, how hard he works everyday, man, psssh...and I'm supposed to be the veteran with two rings, right?"
KG is not only a great basketball player, but a great person as well. He was given the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2006. He also donated $1.2 million to Oprah's Angel Network to help with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. He unveiled 4XL, his For Excellence & Leadership Foundation during 2002 All-Star weekend. The goal of this foundation is to help develop a nationwide Internet search engine for professional mentors for young people who want to do something with their lives but have limited or no outlets or direction. He assumed legal guardianship of his younger sister Ashley, and a few years later, adopted an at-risk teen, Michael Mason. When he was 13 years old KG worked at everything from bagging groceries to washing cars, anything legal to stay out of the system and to keep himself and Ashley fed.
Sonia Grover from IHeartKG and now of the TWolves Blog was kind enough to write a bit about him from the perspective of a Timberwolves fan who has followed KG through the years.
With Garnett, the Celtics get their first serious big man in recent history. KG's work will be easier in the East in that he'll do serious damage to the smaller, weaker PF/C's of the conference.
The league's leading rebounder will have to keep up his ferocity on the boards. In addition, the player will have to work the paint more, something which doesn't seem to come as naturally to him as his patented 10 ft fadeaway. Concentrating more inside will free up his new wingmen to do their thing while allowing Garnett to show off his passing from the post and demonstrate his unselfish nature.
KG hasn't had too many injury concerns and he'll have to focus on maintaining his health as few have ever played as many minutes as he has at his age.
Regardless, Garnett is only three years removed from being the league's MVP. Aside from the fact that he's among the top players in the NBA, his passion and intensity make it amazing to watch him if the team is doing well, but heartbreaking if the team is losing. However, it's difficult to imagine him not doing well in his efforts to revitalize a franchise with a stronger supporting cast than he's had in years.
Kevin Garnett is a franchise player. Even at 31 years old, he is one of the top players in the league today. He works hard and keeps himself in top condition. He brings energy, committment and leadership to the team. He leads by example and is very excited to be in Boston. If anyone can bring #17 to Boston, it is Kevin Garnett.