NBA Superstar Kevin Garnett’s Life And Brilliant Basketball Career

Athletes | 12/2/19

Kevin Garnett was one of the most unique players in NBA history. He was as good defensively as he was on offense and blended scoring and rebounding with passing ability to boot. He won an NBA title with the Celtics in 2008.

KG also had one of the league’s most successful marriages. He was with Brandi Padilla long before the couple made things official in 2004 although, unfortunately, they are no longer together. Read on for more about the storied player’s early life, career, and family.

High School Superstar

High School Superstar
BRUCE BISPING/Star Tribune via Getty Images
BRUCE BISPING/Star Tribune via Getty Images

After three successful years at Mauldin High School in South Carolina, Kevin Garnett was arrested for a fight that occurred at school. The basketball star wasn’t actually involved in the fight, though, and the arrest was eventually expunged from his record.

Still, Garnett made the decision to transfer schools to Farragut Academy in Chicago, Illinois. While there, he developed into one of the very best high school players in America and he was named to and won the MVP of the McDonald’s All-American game.

Garnett Begins A New Trend

Garnett Begins A New Trend
JERRY HOLT/Star Tribune via Getty Images
JERRY HOLT/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Garnett was a hotly-recruited prospect and was set to attend the University of Maryland. The star player, however, was not able to score high enough on his ACT or SAT to qualify for the NCAA.

Instead of playing college ball, Garnett opted to enter the 1995 NBA Draft. The Minnesota Timberwolves drafted the prodigy fifth overall, making the center the first high school player in 20 years to be drafted into the league.

The Youngest Player In History

The Youngest Player In History
JERRY HOLT/Star Tribune via Getty Images
JERRY HOLT/Star Tribune via Getty Images

When Kevin Garnett joined the Timberwolves in 1995, he became, at that time, the youngest player who had ever played in the league. While he came off the bench for the first part of the season, he became a starter in the 2nd half.

He wasn’t necessarily a star in that first season, but there were plenty of signs that stardom was where he was heading. Garnett made the All-Rookie Second Team and averaged 10.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists.

Garnett Gets A Running Mate

Garnett Gets A Running Mate
MARLIN LEVISON/Star Tribune via Getty Images
MARLIN LEVISON/Star Tribune via Getty Images

In order to thrive in the NBA, stars need to play alongside other stars. There is just too much talent in the league for players to make do on their own. Early on in his career, Garnett got a star partner in Stephon Marbury.

Once the T-Wolves added the young point guard, the team began to take off. The Garnett/Marbury duo led the Wolves to their first playoff appearance in 1997, but they fell to the Houston Rockets 3-0.

Big Time Payday

Big Time Payday
Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

With some current NBA salaries now close to $50 million per year, it’s difficult to remember a time when the biggest contacts were more modest. In 1997, the Wolves signed their burgeoning superstar to a six-year, $126 million deal.

The $21 million per year contract was a big deal for other teams, with some saying that it helped to create the lockout of 1998. Looking back now, it’s clear that Minnesota got more than their money’s worth inking Garnett to this deal.

Garnett Thrives But T-Wolves Face Incredible Tragedy

Garnett Thrives But T-Wolves Face Incredible Tragedy
JUDY GRIESEDIECK/Star Tribune via Getty Images
JUDY GRIESEDIECK/Star Tribune via Getty Images

The big-dollar contract soon looked smart as Kevin continued his path toward superstardom. In 1999 he made All-NBA 3rd team. He was even better in 2000, making the All-NBA 1st team and coming 2nd in MVP voting.

All was not well, though, as Minnesota struggled to get through the playoff’s first round. Tragedy struck in 2000, when Garnett’s close friend Malik Sealy was fatally hit by a drunk driver on the way home from Kevin’s birthday celebration.

An MVP Award And A Step Forward

An MVP Award And A Step Forward
JERRY HOLT/Star Tribune via Getty Images
JERRY HOLT/Star Tribune via Getty Images

The 2003-2004 season saw the Timberwolves get serious about building around their star forward. The team brought in two fine players in Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell. The results were immediate as Minnesota won 58 games.

Garnett played as well as he ever had in his career and he was rewarded for his fine play with the league MVP Award. The Wolves also won their first playoff series, beating the Nuggets and Kings before being dispatched by the Lakers.

KG Finds The One

KG Finds The One
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Not only was 2004 a terrific year for Kevin on the court, it was a pretty special year for him off the court as well. That was the year that KG married his long-time girlfriend Brandi Padilla.

While Garnett had a chance to play for the 2004 Men’s Olympic basketball team that summer, he chose to focus on his home life and make it official with Brandi. The duo had been dating since early on in Garnett’s career.

Frustration Sets In

Frustration Sets In
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Following the Wolves’ Western Conference finals appearance against the Lakers, things began to go sideways. The team’s two marquee additions, Cassell and Sprewell, got older and eventually left the team. The 2004 season would be as good as it got for Garnett.

The Minnesota Timberwolves began to fall into a deep decline despite the best efforts of their long-time superstar. While the team had long resisted the thought of trading Garnett, they began to change their minds around 2007.

Moving On From Minnesota

Moving On From Minnesota
Christopher Evans/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images
Christopher Evans/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

Kevin Garnett was easily the best player in the history of the Timberwolves franchise. For him to leave Minnesota was, at times, and inconceivable thought for Wolves’ management. But by 2007, it started to make sense for the team.

In 2007, Garnett was traded to the Boston Celtics for a massive package that included five players to go along with two first-round draft picks. Joining Garnett in Boston was long-time Celtic Paul Pierce and recent addition, Ray Allen.

Garnett’s Fortune Changes Dramatically

Garnett's Fortune Changes Dramatically
Jason Binn/WireImage
Jason Binn/WireImage

Kevin Garnett and his Minnesota Timberwolves had been languishing for three or four years. But once he joined the Celtics, that changed quickly. Not only was he joined by other stars in Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, he also had a high-end coach in Doc Rivers.

Garnett was quickly welcomed in Boston. The media dubbed the star trio the Big 3. The Celtics also ensured that Kevin would be with the team for a while, signing him to a three-year contract extension.

Kevin And Brandi Live Large In Concord, Mass

a fireplace
Zillow
Zillow

After leaving their long-time Minnesota home, Kevin and Brandi needed somewhere new to live. The couple settled on the Massachusetts town of Concord. The couple purchased the five-bedroom, six-bathroom home for the price of $4.85 million.

The gigantic living space was on a massive property consisting of 12 acres. In addition to the enormous yard, the house also featured such amenities as a wine cellar, a media room, and a massive gym in which Kevin could train.

Immediate Success

immediate Success
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It didn’t take long for the Big Three to create a legacy in Boston. The city had been hungry for success since the end of the Larry Bird/Kevin McHale/Robert Parish dynasty and Garnett and his friends were able to provide it.

The Celtics won the 2008 NBA Title in Garnett’s first year, in addition to leading the team to their first Championship since 1986. Kevin also took home a major award as he was named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year.

The Garnett Family Grows

The Garnett Family Growsv
Uri Schanker/GC Images
Uri Schanker/GC Images

As Kevin was growing his legacy in Boston, the Garnett family was growing as well. Kevin and Brandi had welcomed daughter Kapri in 2007 and another daughter named Kavalli in 2013.

The four Garnetts could frequently be seen out enjoying Boston as well as staying home at their big house in Concord. The family are also big tennis fans and have been known to attend big tournaments like New York City’s US Open.

Continued Success In Boston

Continued Success In Boston
Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

While the Celtics continued to be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, they soon had some serious competition. In July of 2010, LeBron James and Chris Bosh announced they would be joining Dwayne Wade on the Miami Heat.

The two teams became fierce rivals for the Eastern Conference crown each year. While Garnett and the Big Three continued their fine play and made the Finals again in 2010, that would be the last Championship appearance for the Celtics.

A Move To Brooklyn

A Move To Brooklyn
Elsa/Getty Images
Elsa/Getty Images

After a number of successful seasons, the Celtics decided that Garnett, Pierce, and Allen had gotten too old to make another run at a title. Many teams were interested in KG and eventually Boston traded him to the Brooklyn Nets.

Garnett, along with Paul Pierce and Jason Terry, was dealt for a massive package of players and draft picks. While with Brooklyn, Garnett failed to advance past the first round of the playoffs. Boston used the draft picks obtained in the deal to again become a powerhouse.

It All Ends Where It Began

It All Ends Where It Began
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Garnett and Pierce-led Nets were never able to achieve the success they had hoped for. The team decided it was time to blow things up and offered to trade KG to a team of his choosing.

And Garnett chose to return home. The 15-time All-Star waived his no-trade clause and was dealt to the Timberwolves for Thaddeus Young. Garnett had an injury-plagued 2015 season, but then signed a two-year contract extension to remain in Minnesota.

A Club With Only One Member

A Club With Only One Member
Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Kevin Garnett was one of the most uniquely-skilled players in NBA history and that fact is reflected in some of the records he holds. He is the only player in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists over at least six seasons.

More impressively, he is the only player in league history to compile 25,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 5,000 assists, 1,500 steals, and 1,500 blocks over the course of his career.

Post-NBA Success

Post-NBA Success
Visual China Group via Getty Images
Visual China Group via Getty Images

KG did not have to wait long to find success after his career was over. Always seen as charismatic and personable, he was a perfect fit for television. He quickly made the transition and joined TNT’s Inside the NBA.

Teams also wanted to have KG provide some of his expertise to their young players. He has worked as a consultant for both the LA Clippers and the Milwaukee Bucks. He will also be making a film appearance in the upcoming movie, Uncut Gems.

A Marriage Dissolved

A Marriage Dissolved
Gail Oskin/Getty Images for U.S. Fund for UNICEF
Gail Oskin/Getty Images for U.S. Fund for UNICEF

Kevin and Brandi had been married for 14 years. For NBA players that can be seen as an especially long time. Early in 2019, Brandi filed for divorce from KG with the stated reason being irreconcilable differences.

She has requested that the couple share custody of their two children, Kapri and Kavalli. Brandi would have regular custody of the kids with Kevin getting visitation rights. Garnett’s former spouse will also receive $100k per month in child and spousal support.