Kevin Garnett did something no one else had done in 20 years when in 1995 he made the jump directly from high school to the NBA, and after a solid rookie season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, he has since established himself as a perennial NBA All-Star.
Garnett declared himself a candidate for the 1995 NBA Draft after graduating from high school at Farragut Academy in Chicago, Illinois. He had spent his first three years at Mauldin High School in Mauldin, South Carolina, earning Mr. Basketball honors for the State of South Carolina as a junior in 1994. As a senior, Garnett was named the National High School Player of the Year by USA Today and was selected to the Parade Magazine All-America First Team after leading Farragut to a 28-2 mark and the AA state quarterfinals. He also added the honor of Mr. Basketball for the State of Illinois after averaging 25.2 points, 17.9 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 6.5 blocks while shooting 66.6 percent from the field.
Garnett, whose four-year high school basketball totals included 2,533 points, 1,807 rebounds and 739 blocked shots, was named the Most Outstanding Player at the 1995 McDonald's All-America Game after registering 18 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots.
Selected to USA Basketball's talented 1995 Junior Select National Team which met an International Select Team in the 1st Annual Nike Hoop Summit in Springfield, Mass., Garnett just missed recording a triple-double, finishing with 10 points, 10 rebounds and nine blocked shots in 28 minutes of action as the USA recorded a hard fought 86-77 victory.
Drafted by Minnesota as the fifth overall player in the '95 Draft, he averaged in his rookie season 10.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.64 blocks (15th in the NBA). He set a franchise record with 131 blocked shots and earned All-Rookie Second Team honors. He appeared in 80 games and started 43 of them, primarily in the second half of the season.
When he made his first professional start on Jan. 9 at the Los Angeles Lakers, he became the third-youngest player ever to start an NBA game at 19 years, 235 days. Garnett, who topped the NBA All-Rookie Second Team, appeared in the Schick Rookie Game at All-Star Weekend and had eight points, six assists, four rebounds, two steals and one blocked shot.
In 1996-97 he improved to All-Star status in only his second season, averaging 17.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.12 blocks (ninth in the NBA), in 38.9 minutes (18th in the NBA). He broke his own club record with 163 blocks as he helped lead Minnesota to a first-ever playoff berth, ranking second on the team in scoring and rebounding and fourth in assists. Playing 18 minutes in his first NBA All-Star Game, he scored six points while grabbing a team-high nine rebounds for the West.
Continuing in 1997-98 his progress and strong play, Garnett earned his second consecutive All-Star honor and recorded 12 points and four rebounds, becoming the first All-Star starter in Timberwolves franchise history. Garnett started all 82 regular season games and led the Wolves in rebounding (9.6 rpg./10th in the NBA), blocked shots (1.8 bpg. / 13th in the NBA), steals (1.7 spg. / 18th in the NBA), and minutes played (39.3 mpg. / 12th in the NBA), and was second on the squad in scoring (18.5 ppg. / 22nd in the NBA) and assists (4.2 apg. / 27th in the NBA). Leading Minnesota to its second consecutive playoff appearance, the 6-11 Garnett ranked fourth in the league in double-doubles with 45.
Year four in the NBA saw Garnett continue his climb into the league's elite while claiming All-NBA Third Team honors and tallying the highest number of votes of anyone on the third team. Compiling a double-double for the season, Garnett averaged career highs of 20.8 ppg. and 10.4 rpg. Ranking among the top 20 in six NBA statistical areas, he ranked ninth in rebounds (10.4 rpg.) and in double doubles (25); 11th in scoring (20.8 ppg.); 13th in blocks shots (1.77), 15th in minutes played (37.9) and was 20th in steals (1.66).
As a member of the gold medal winning 1999 USA Basketball Pre-Olympic Qualifying Team that finished 10-0 and qualified the USA for the 2000 Olympics, Garnett, because of his high energy and high flying slam dunks, was a crowd favorite and averaged 11.9 ppg., 7.0 rebounds and 2.2 blocked shots a game.
Garnett's fifth NBA season saw him post career highs for points, rebounds, assists, three-point shooting percentage and free throw shooting percentage, and for the first time in his career, he earned All-NBA First Team and NBA All-Defensive First Team honors. Selected for his third NBA All-Star Game, Garnett played a game high 35 minutes and recorded 24 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for the victorious West squad.
Starting and playing in 81 of 82 games in '99-'00, he helped the Wolves to a 50-32 regular season record, while ranking 10th in the NBA in scoring (22.9 ppg.), fourth in rebounding (11.8 rpg.), 17th in field goal percentage (.497) and , fourth in minutes (40.0). During the Playoffs First Round match-up against Portland, Garnett posted a triple-double (12 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds) in a 91-88 loss at Portland on April 23 (Game 1) and tallied another triple-double (23 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists) in a 94-87 win over Portland on April 30 (Game 3).
Garnett has an older sister, Sonya, and a younger sister, Ashley. He portrayed Wilt Chamberlain in the movie "Rebound," and has a tattoo of his initials, "K.G.," and another of an arm holding a basketball with the words "Blood, Sweat and Tears".