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Kevin Maurice Garnett (born May 19, 1976) is an Americanmarker professional basketball player who currently plays at the power forward for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA). After having a successful high school basketball career at Farragut Career Academy, he decided to forgo college and entered NBA Draft. He was selected with the 5th overall pick in the 1995 NBA Draft 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, Garnett led the Timberwolves to the Western Conference Finals and was voted Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the 2003-04 season. In the 2000 Summer Olympics, he won a Gold medal as a member of the USA men's national basketball team. Since his second season in the league, Garnett has been named to every All-Star Game, which includes winning the All-Star MVP award in 2003. He was awarded the regular season's NBA Defensive Player of the Year in the 2007-08 season and has been a nine-time member of the All-NBA Teams selection and a ten-time member of the All-Defensive Teams selection.

After spending twelve seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Garnett was traded to the Boston Celtics, where he won his first NBA championship and helped them win their seventeenth title. Garnett currently holds several all-time Timberwolves franchise records and is also the all-time leader in NBA seasons played with averages of at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists per game.

Early life

Kevin Garnett was born in Greenville, South Carolinamarker to Shirley Garnett and O'Lewis McCullough, and was the second of his mother's three children. After divorcing McCullough, Shirley Garnett raised Kevin and his two siblings. She then re-married and moved the family to Mauldin, South Carolinamarker when Kevin Garnett was twelve.

Garnett fell in love with the sport of basketball while attending Hillcrest Middle School, although he did not play organized ball until high school. In his first three high school years, Garnett played for Mauldin High School. However, during the summer prior to his senior year of high school, Kevin was in the general vicinity of a fight between black and white students. Although not directly involved, Garnett was arrested. Due to the racially charged incident and fearful of being a target, Garnett decided to leave Mauldin. He transferred to Farragut Career Academy in Chicagomarker, Illinoismarker 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 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. He 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. Garnett played alongside Ronnie Fields in high school, who also followed a professional career. Garnett also excelled in soccer during his high school days.

NBA career

Early years

Garnett was drafted with the fifth pick of the 1995 NBA Draft by the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves, and became the first player to be drafted directly out of high school since 1975. After joining the NBA for the 1989-90 season, the Timberwolves had not won more than 29 games in any season. In Garnett's rookie season, the Timberwolves were in the midst of a transition phase; they replaced Bill Blair with Flip Saunders as head coach early in the season and made several trades. Garnett initially came off the bench in his rookie year, but moved into the starting lineup soon after Saunders became head coach. In his rookie year, Garnett and fellow newcomer Tom Gugliotta carried the scoring load. Garnett did not immediately leap to stardom as later prep-to-pro prospects such as Amar'e Stoudemire, LeBron James and Dwight Howard would, but he did have 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. Despite having some promising players, the Timberwolves suffered through their seventh consecutive sub-30 win season and failed to make the playoffs. At the time Garnett was the youngest NBA player in history at 19 years and 11 months of age.

Prior to the 1996-97 season, the Timberwolves made a draft-day trade for point guard Stephon Marbury of the Georgia Techmarker Yellow Jackets. During the season Garnett posted improving averages of 17.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.7 steals. He also had two games where he registered eight blocks. With a 40–42 record, the Timberwolves made their first playoff appearance in franchise history, Garnett and Gugliotta made their first All-Star appearances, and Marbury established himself as a valuable young lead guard. However, the Houston Rockets, led by Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler, and Charles Barkley proved to be too much as the Timberwolves were swept 3–0 in the first round of the 1997 NBA Playoffs.

Franchise player

During the 1997-98 NBA season, the Timberwolves and Garnett agreed on a six-year contract extension that was worth an unparalleled $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 many pundits speculated that the deal would make it impossible for the Wolves to sign new players or even keep their own. 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. Again, he was an All-Star, and the Timberwolves finished with their first winning record in franchise history (45–37 for the season). For the second consecutive year the young Timberwolves bowed out of the playoffs in the first round, this time losing 2–3 against the Seattle SuperSonics and superstar point guard Gary Payton. The two wins against the Sonics marked the Wolves' first-ever playoff game wins. The off-season started poorly for the Timberwolves though as 20-point per game scorer Tom Gugliotta left for the Phoenix Suns.

In the lockout-shortened season that followed, Garnett broke through as a superstar. Putting up stats of 20.8 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.8 blocks per game, he was named to the All-NBA Third Team. However, midway through the season Stephon Marbury was traded to the New Jersey Nets after a dispute over his possible contract extension. Although the Wolves received two-time All-Star Terrell Brandon in return, they were not able to overcome the discord and limped into the playoffs as the 8th seed with a 25–25 record. The Wolves were defeated in the first round again, this time losing 1–3 to the eventual champion San Antonio Spurs who were led by young superstar and eventual NBA Finals MVP Tim Duncan. In the next season, Garnett continued his notable play, averaging 22.9 points, 11.8 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.5 steals per game and made the first of his four All-NBA First Team appearances. Assisted by sharpshooting rookie forward Wally Szczerbiak and steady veteran Brandon, the Wolves posted a franchise-best 50-32 record, but succumbed in the first round to the Portland Trail Blazers 3–1.

In the 1999-00 NBA season, Timberwolves' guard Malik Sealy was killed by a drunk driver and the NBA ruled that the free agent signing of Joe Smith was illegal. The NBA punished the team for the illegal signing by stripping the team of three first-round draft picks, fining Glen Taylor (the owner of the team) $3.5 million, and banning general manager Kevin McHale for one year. Garnett led the Wolves to a 47–35 record and made the All-NBA Second Team, but again, the Wolves did not survive the first round of the playoffs, losing to the Spurs 3–1.

MVP and division champions

In the 2001-02 NBA season, Garnett posted another notable season, his averages of 21.2 points, 12.1 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.2 steals per game enough for another All-NBA Second Team nomination. However, the Timberwolves bowed out in the first round for the sixth consecutive time, this time getting swept 3–0 by the Dallas Mavericks led by Michael Finley, Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki. Garnett's next season was one of the best of his career, his 23.0 ppg / 13.0 rpg / 6.0 apg / 1.6 bpg / 1.4 spg season earning him his second All-NBA First Team nomination and second place in the MVP voting. The Timberwolves posted a good 51–31 record, but for the seventh consecutive time, they did not make it out of the first round, this time losing to the Los Angeles Lakers, 4 games to 2.

In the 2003-04 NBA season, things finally seemed to come together for Garnett. In past years, the Wolves had practically been a one-man show, but now, the Timberwolves had made two valuable acquisitions: highly talented but volatile swingman Latrell Sprewell and the seasoned two-time NBA champion Sam Cassell, who supplanted Troy Hudson at point guard. In addition, defensive center Ervin Johnson complemented the inconsistent Michael Olowokandi. Powered 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 for the season. Having recorded career highs in points, rebounds, blocks and leading the league rebounds, Garnett was named the league Most Valuable Player for the first time in his career. With a franchise-record 58 wins, the Wolves stormed into the playoffs, and finally vanquished their playoff bane by defeating the Denver Nuggets 4–1 in the first round. After disposing of the strong Sacramento Kings 4–3 in the Western Conference Semifinals, Garnett and the Timberwolves met the Lakers. Against the Lakers, playmaker Cassell went down with a back injury. With reserve point guard Hudson also injured, the Timberwolves alternated between third playmaker Darrick Martin and shooting guard Fred Hoiberg at the "one", or even running Garnett himself as point forward or a real point guard. The Los Angeles Lakers pulled off a 4–2 series win.

Frustration

In the 2004-05 NBA season, Garnett was named to the All-NBA Second Team, but with a mediocre 44–38 record, the Timberwolves failed to make the playoffs after eight consecutive years. The 2005-06 NBA season brought more frustration for Garnett. With Sprewell and Cassell refusing to stay and stuck with a mediocre squad, the Timberwolves skidded to a 33–49 record. Despite Garnett's play, the team logged the second worst record since Garnett joined the franchise. On 10 May 2007 Garnett was named to the All-NBA Third Team.

During the 2007 off-season, Taylor admitted that although he had planned on retaining Garnett, he would finally listen to trade offers. Garnett's name was mentioned in various trade rumors involving the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns, and Dallas Mavericks.

Success in Boston

On July 31, 2007, Kevin Garnett was traded to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff, cash considerations, Boston's 2009 first-round draft pick (top 3 protected) and the 2009 first-round pick Minnesota had traded to Boston in the Ricky Davis-Wally Szczerbiak trade of 2006. The 7-for-1 deal constitutes the largest number of players traded for a single player in league history. At the time of the trade, Garnett had the longest current tenure of any player in the NBA with one team, having played for the Timberwolves for his first 12 seasons (a total of 927 games). Garnett said that he was proud to be a part of the Celtics, and hoped to continue its proud tradition and basketball success. On the day the trade was announced, Garnett signed a three-year $60 million contract extension that will start after his current deal runs out in 2009. On August 1, 2007 the day after signing his Celtics contract, Garnett threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Parkmarker prior to a Red Sox-Orioles game. Garnett has claimed to be a long-time Red Sox fan.

Garnett wore jersey number 5 for the Celtics' since his number with the Timberwolves, number 21, was retired by the Celtics', previously worn by Bill Sharman. He made his Boston debut with a strong performance against the Washington Wizards, with 22 points and 20 rebounds. He also led all players in voting for the 2008 NBA All-Star Game. Garnett received 2,399,148 votes, the sixth highest total in NBA All-Star balloting history. Among active players, Garnett's 11 All-Star selections rank second to Cleveland Cavaliers center Shaquille O'Neal, who has appeared 14 times in the All-Star Game. However, Garnett was unable to play due to an abdominal strain, and Detroit Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace was named by NBA Commissioner David Stern to replace him. East All-Star head coach Doc Rivers replaced Garnett with Toronto Raptors forward Chris Bosh in the starting lineup. Garnett passed 20,000 points for his career, becoming the 32nd player in NBA history to reach the mark, with a layup in the 2nd quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies on March 8, 2008. The only other active players who have passed that mark are Shaquille O'Neal, Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant. On April 22, 2008, Garnett was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year for the 2007-08 season. It was the only major award a Celtic player had not claimed since the franchise's foundation in 1946. However, Garnett claimed it was a team effort which helped him win the award. Garnett helped the Celtics to their 17th NBA Championship, with 26 points and 14 rebounds in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

In the 2008–09 season Garnett started all of the 57 games he was able to suit up for. He averaged 15.8 points 8.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists. On October 31, 2008, Garnett became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 1,000 career games, at 32 years and 165 days. Garnett earned his twelveth consecutive All-Star Game start on February 15, 2009. Following the All-Star Game, during a game against the Utah Jazz, Garnett strained his right knee late in the second quarter. The injury occurred on February 19, 2009, while attempting to go up for an alley-oop. He was forced to miss the next 14 games. Upon his return from the injury, he averaged 9 points and 4.5 rebounds in four games before being shut down for the season permanently, missing the final 25 games of the regular season including the 2009 NBA playoffs due to a right knee sprain. The Celtics would advance to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals that year, only to be eliminated by the Orlando Magic.

Personal life

Garnett married long time girlfriend Brandi Padilla during a private ceremony in Californiamarker. The wedding was the reason he did not take part in the Athens 2004 Olympic games. Garnett is a cousin to former Los Angeles Lakers player Shammond Williams, and is the half brother of Louis McCullough, who played for the ABA's Syracuse Raging Bullz.

In the New Englandmarker area, Garnett is a resident of Concordmarker, Massachusettsmarker, owning a home worth roughly $4.6 million.

Although Garnett is officially listed as by the NBA, many, including the Celtics organization, believe he is over seven feet tall. During the 2007 NBA All-Star Game, Garnett admitted in an interview with Craig Sager to be tall.

His nicknames include "The Big Ticket", "KG", "Da Kid", and formerly "The Franchise" (after being known as the Minnesota Timberwolves' franchise player).

Garnett is also a supporter of Chelsea F.C., an English Premier League football club. Garnett has been seen in attendance at the Los Angeles Galaxy v Chelsea match at the Home Depot Centermarker on July 22, 2007. He also received a Chelsea shirt from the club with his name and number on the back in 2008.

NBA career statistics

Regular season

1995–96
Minnesota
80 43 28.7 .491 .286 .705 6.3 1.8 1.1 1.6 10.4
1996–97
Minnesota
77 77 38.9 .499 .286 .754 8.0 3.1 1.4 2.1 17.0
1997–98
Minnesota
82 82 39.3 .491 .188 .738 9.6 4.2 1.7 1.8 18.5
1998–99
Minnesota
47 47 37.9 .460 .286 .704 10.4 4.3 1.7 1.8 20.8
1999–00
Minnesota
81 81 40.0 .497 .370 .765 11.8 5.0 1.5 1.6 22.9
2000–01
Minnesota
81 81 39.5 .477 .288 .764 11.4 5.0 1.4 1.8 22.0
2001–02
Minnesota
81 81 39.2 .470 .319 .801 12.1 5.2 1.2 1.6 21.2
2002–03
Minnesota
82 82 40.5 .502 .282 .751 13.4 6.0 1.4 1.6 23.0
2003–04
Minnesota
82 82 39.4 .499 .256 .791 13.9 5.0 1.5 2.2 24.2
2004–05
Minnesota
82 82 38.1 .502 .240 .811 13.5 5.7 1.5 1.4 22.2
2005–06
Minnesota
76 76 38.9 .526 .267 .810 12.7 4.1 1.4 1.4 21.8
2006–07
Minnesota
76 76 39.4 .476 .214 .835 12.8 4.1 1.2 1.7 22.4
2007–08
Boston
71 71 32.8 .539 .000 .801 9.2 3.4 1.4 1.2 18.8
2008–09
Boston
57 57 31.1 .531 .250 .841 8.5 2.5 1.1 1.2 15.8
Career
1055 1018 37.6 .496 .283 .782 11.1 4.3 1.4 1.6 20.2
All-Star
11 9 23.6 .515 .000 .875 7.0 3.2 1.5 .8 13.6

Playoffs

1996–97
Minnesota
3 3 41.7 .471 1.000 1.000 9.3 3.7 1.3 1.0 17.3
1997–98
Minnesota
5 5 38.8 .480 .000 .778 9.6 4.0 .8 2.4 15.8
1998–99
Minnesota
4 4 42.5 .443 .000 .739 12.0 3.8 1.8 2.0 21.8
1999–00
Minnesota
4 4 42.8 .385 .667 .813 10.8 8.8 1.2 .8 18.8
2000–01
Minnesota
4 4 41.3 .466 .000 .833 12.0 4.3 1.0 1.5 21.0
2001–02
Minnesota
3 3 43.3 .429 .500 .719 18.7 5.0 1.7 1.7 24.0
2002–03
Minnesota
6 6 44.2 .514 .333 .607 15.7 5.2 1.7 1.7 27.0
2003–04
Minnesota
18 18 43.5 .452 .313 .776 14.6 5.1 1.3 2.3 24.3
2007–08
Boston
26 26 38.0 .495 .250 .810 10.5 3.3 1.4 1.1 20.4
Career
73 73 41.0 .470 .318 .776 12.4 4.4 1.3 1.6 21.6

Achievements

During his time in the league Garnett has established a long list of achievements, including:
*First Team: 2000, 2003, 2004, 2008
*Second Team: 2001, 2002, 2005
*Third Team: 1999, 2007
  • 10-time All-Defensive:
*First Team: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009
*Second Team: 2006, 2007
*Second team: 1996
  • 4-time NBA regular-season leader, rebounds per game: 2004 (13.9), 2005 (13.5), 2006 (12.7), 2007 (12.8)
  • 2-time NBA regular-season leader, rebounds: 2004 (1,139), 2005 (1,108)
  • 5-time NBA regular-season leader, defensive rebounds: 2003 (858), 2004 (894), 2005 (861), 2006 (752), 2007 (792)
  • NBA regular-season leader, points: 2004 (1,987)
  • NBA regular-season leader, field goals made: 2004 (804)
  • J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award: 2006
  • Career triple-doubles (regular season): 17 (as of March 4, 2007)
  • Career triple-doubles (post-season): 3 (as of 2006)
  • Only player in NBA history to:
*average at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists per game for 6 consecutive seasons. (1999–2005)
*average at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists per game for 9 consecutive seasons. (1998–2007)
*reach at least 20,000 points, 11,000 rebounds, 4,000 assists, 1,200 steals, and 1,500 blocks in his playing career.
  • One of four players in NBA history to leads their team in all five major statistical categories (points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals) in a season (2002-03).
*along with Dave Cowens (1977-78), Scottie Pippen (1994-95) and LeBron James (2008-09).
  • Holds Minnesota Timberwolves franchise record for most points in one game with 47 vs. the Phoenix Suns on January 4, 2005.
  • Holds Minnesota Timberwolves franchise career records for points, 19,041; rebounds, 10,542; assists, 4,146; blocked shots, 1,576; steals, 1,282; and games played, 927.
  • Ranked #30 in SLAM Magazine's 2009 revision of the top 50 greatest players of all time (published in the August 2009 issue)
  • Achieved 10,000 total rebounds in his career on January 13, 2007.
  • Career stats (regular season): 998 games, 20.4 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 4.4 apg, 1.6 bpg, 1.4 spg, .494 FG%, .284 3P%, .781 FT%
  • Career stats (post-season): 73 games, 21.6 ppg, 12.4 rpg, 4.4 apg, 1.6 bpg, 1.3 spg, .470 FG%, .318 3P%, .776 FT%


References

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