Thanks to FLCeltsfan on Yardbarker for initially pointing me to this series of Beyond the Glory video’s on Boston’s newest son and icon Kevin Garnett. It’s been apparent, and not only by the 32-6 record and astounding rise from the ashes of the Celtics organization this season, that Garnett was an athlete made for the Boston stage.
It’s been fun to see a veteran of such character, of whom as stars go, I knew very little, come to Boston and light up a franchise with his selflessness, his sense of team and pride, and his leadership. He relishes the stage he’s now on.
I have to compare him to Curt Schilling in that respect. Every so often Boston brings the best out in an athlete and highlights it. But what brought KG to this place? Watch and learn.
KG grows up without a strong fatherly influence, but with a good familial support system in his mother. His basketball skills come from his dad who was a 6’5″ player around the way. KG moves to a middle class neighborhood for high school and befriends his best friend for life, “Bug” Peters. Kevin almost doesn’t try out for the high school basketball team because there’s only two things he’s afraid of, “God and his Moms.”
Coach put the drive in KG through discipline and KG embraced it. He dominated as a freshman without his Mom knowing he was playing. Even then he knew and was taught,
“Don’t ever get bigger than the team, cause without the team you’re nothing.”
KG holds that to heart to this day. KG went through high school as a hero in rural South Carolina. In his Sophomore year, he attended Nike camp and the legend went National. Also at the Nike camp was a troubled young teen, Allen Iverson whose publicity took the broadcast of the camp games National.
Garnett dominated the camp. Recruiters were everywhere. But an incident in school threatened all that. Garnett was with a group of friends who put a beat down on a white kid in the school. Garnett stood by, he didn’t throw down. But in South Carolina law, that’s still considered being a part of a mob action and carries the charge of lynching in the second degree.
“South Carolina law defines second-degree lynching as “[a]ny act of violence inflicted by a mob upon the body of another person and from which death does not result shall constitute the crime of lynching in the second degree and shall be a felony. Any person found guilty of lynching in the second degree shall be confined at hard labor in the State Penitentiary for a term not exceeding twenty years nor less than three years, at the discretion of the presiding judge.” – Wikipedia
KG was arrested in the classroom and hauled off to county jail for his part in the incident. He faced up to 20 years in prison for doing nothing. He was expelled from school. His Mom decided it was time to leave South Carolina.
Nike tried to hold KG out of the next Nike camp but relented under pressure from scouts and recruiters. Getting back on the court was just what KG needed. Garnett participated in a first time offense program in South Carolina to clear his name and expunge his record. Shortly after, he and his Mom left Mauldin and up and moved to Chicago. They took “Bug” with them. Whether KG would have gone straight to the pros is he had stayed in Mauldin is a question we’ll never have an answer to.
Chicago was a tough adjustment for KG, but his basketball only improved. KG wanted to go to college. But it was looking like his academics and his inability to qualify with a minimum SAT score would keep him from that goal. In Chicago, times were tight for the Garnetts. KG declared for the draft amidst a sea of naysayers in the media. KG went with the 5th pick in the 1995 draft to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Garnett unlocked the doors for the jump from high school to the NBA for many players to follow.
KG = Minnesota Timberwolves franchise.