Born: May 19, 1976
Place of Birth: Greenville, SC
Zodiac Sign: Taurus
Kevin Maurice Garnett (born May 19, 1976) is an American former professional basketball player who played for 21 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Known for his intensity, defensive ability, and versatility, Garnett is considered one of the greatest power forwards of all time. He is one of four NBA players to win both the Most Valuable Player and the Defensive Player of the Year awards. In high school, Garnett was a 1995 McDonald's All-American at Farragut Career Academy and won a national player of the year award. He entered the 1995 NBA draft, where he was selected with the fifth overall pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves and became the first NBA player drafted directly out of high school in 20 years.
Garnett made an immediate impact with the Minnesota Timberwolves, leading them to eight consecutive playoff appearances. In 2004, he led the Timberwolves to the Western Conference Finals and won the NBA MVP Award. Garnett has been named to 15 All-Star Games, winning the All-Star MVP award in 2003, and is currently tied for third-most All-Star selections in NBA history. He was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2007–08, and has been selected nine times for All-NBA Teams and 12 times for All-Defensive Teams. Garnett also holds several Timberwolves franchise records.
In 2007, after 12 seasons with the Timberwolves, Garnett joined the Boston Celtics in a blockbuster trade. In his first year with the Celtics, he helped lead them to the NBA championship, while also finishing in third place for the MVP award. In 2013, Garnett was included in a second headline trade that sent him to the Brooklyn Nets with longtime Celtic Paul Pierce. In 2015, Garnett was traded back to Minnesota. He announced his retirement from professional basketball in September 2016.
Personal Life and Family
Garnett was born on May 19, 1976, in Greenville, South Carolina, to Shirley Garnett. He was the second of his mother's three children. Garnett's mother never married his father, O'Lewis McCullough, with their relationship ending shortly after his birth. Garnett grew up with his mother and stepfather, Ernest Irby, with whom he didn't get along, and two sisters.
Garnett fell in love with the sport of basketball while attending Hillcrest Middle School, although he did not play organized basketball until high school. In his first three years of high school, Garnett attended Mauldin High School in Mauldin, South Carolina and played on the school's basketball team. However, during the summer before his senior year of high school, Garnett was in the general vicinity of a fight between black and white students. Although not directly involved, Garnett was one of three students arrested for second-degree lynching, a charge that was expunged through a pre-trial intervention. Due to the racially charged incident and fearful of being a target, Garnett decided to leave Mauldin High and transferred to Farragut Career Academy in Chicago, for his senior year of high school.
He led Farragut to a 28–2 record and was named National High School Player of the Year by USA Today. He was also named Mr. Basketball for the state of Illinois after averaging 25.2 points, 17.9 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 6.5 blocks while shooting 66.8% from the field. In four years of high school, Garnett posted an impressive 2,553 points, 1,809 rebounds and 737 blocked shots. In high school, Garnett played alongside Ronnie Fields, who also became a professional basketball player. Garnett was named the Most Outstanding Player at the McDonald's All-American Game after registering 18 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocked shots, and then declared himself eligible for the 1995 NBA draft. To mark the 35th anniversary of the McDonald's All-American High School Boys Basketball Game, Garnett was honored as one of 35 Greatest McDonald's All-Americans.
Garnett's decision not to play college basketball was influenced in part by his failure to score well enough on the ACT to meet NCAA requirements for freshman eligibility. Garnett told Student Sports Magazine in 1995 that if he had attended college he would have chosen to play college basketball for the University of Maryland.
In July 2004, Garnett married his longtime girlfriend Brandi Padilla during a private ceremony in California. Due to the wedding, Garnett did not take part in the Athens Olympic Games. The couple has two daughters. On July 12, 2018, Garnett's wife filed for divorce, asking for custody of the children.
Garnett is the half-brother of former basketball player Louis McCullough. Another professional basketball player, former Los Angeles Laker Shammond Williams, is his cousin.
His nicknames include "The Big Ticket", "KG", "The Kid" and formerly "The Franchise" (after being known as the Minnesota Timberwolves' franchise player). Before games, he mentally prepares himself by banging his head against a padded basketball stanchion. Although Garnett is officially listed as 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) by the NBA, he is widely accepted to be at least 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) tall. During the 2007 NBA All-Star Game, Garnett admitted in an interview with Craig Sager to be "6 ft 11 in and some quarters" tall. Measurements from the 1995 NBA draft show the 19-year-old Garnett measured 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) tall barefoot. In 1997, Garnett was measured by Minnesota Timberwolves training staff as 7 ft 1 in (2.16 m) tall in his basketball shoes.
In December 2011, Garnett agreed to become a limited shareholder of American-owned Italian Serie A football team A.S. Roma.