In the spring of 1995, there was a huge hype about him. Numerous General Managers came to the boy’s workout, including Kevin McHale and Flip Saunders of the Minnesota Timberwolves. “I thought it was a waste of time,” McHale later admitted. But he was wrong. The young Kevin Garnett, already around 6’10 at that time, showed movements and dribble moves, which reminded rather of a guard than a big man. In addition, his jumper from the middle distance fell with dreamlike security.
McHale just wanted the Kid after this impressive performance. KG put everything, everything he had, into this workout.
It paid off. He was selected by Minnesota as the fifth pick in the NBA draft. Through hard work and sheer boundless will, he realized his first big dream. He made up for his body appearance with passion and effort, even though his first season was still a bit bumpy.
But Garnett continued to work on himself. Despite his youth, he was quickly accepted in the team. His later coach in Minnesota and then mentor Sam Mitchell later recalled, “We had all read about him, but we did not know how hard he was to himself and how motivated he was to become a great player.”
Over the years, KG established himself in the league and became one of the most exciting players in the league. That aroused greed and had to be rewarded accordingly. At age 21, Garnett signed for six years and 126 million dollars, after he had previously rejected a bid of over 100 million.
There was a big clash between the management of the NBA and the players’ union. The first lockout in NBA history was about to happen. Once again, Garnett had made history, not a happy one. Rookie contracts were now reorganized and became stricter, contracts could be for a maximum of five years.
The person Garnett was now more critically eyed – but he delivered. Impeccably as a teammate, The Big Ticket put completely into the service of the team. 25 points, 15 rebounds and 6 assists were not uncommon, but in the playoffs, there was an end in round one for seven consecutive years.
But then the big opportunity came in the Conference Finals 2004 and the Garnett’s MVP Trophy. Unfortunately for him and very talented Wolves team, the Lakers advanced to the NBA Finals, as they won the series in six games. After that, difficult years followed. Still, Garnett wanted success in Minnesota. The Wolves missed the postseason three times in a row, only then Garnett realized that he needs a change. He was too proud to escape, but it was also a confession of personal defeat. He signed for the Boston Celtics, and a super-team of the modern era was born.
KG finally lost the stamp of losing in the 2008 NBA finals. Although the focus was no longer on him in the offense, he could dedicate himself to his favorite “hobby”, the defense.
The Lakers around Kobe, Pau Gasol and Co. were the record champions. Garnett broke all the dams. The pressure that fell away from him must have been gigantic. “Anything is possible”, this burst of emotion in the victory interview went down in the history of the finals. The Big Ticket was at its destination after 13 long years and many setbacks.
Garnett had dedicated himself to the game, but most of all he has the Secret of Basketball, the Essence decrypted by Bill Simmons much sworn. Even at the moment of defeat, KG was always aware: “It’s not about me, it’s about us.”