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Garnett on HS season at Farragut: 'Chicago gave me my swag' originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Kevin Garnett originally hails from Greenville, S.C. And he's loathe to let anyone forget it.
"I always like to give props to South Carolina and my upbringing, because (of) my DNA, the way I was taught the game," Garnett said at a press conference celebrating his upcoming induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
But for one storied season to cap his high school career, he played at Farragut Career Academy on the West Side of Chicago. Starring alongside fellow Chicago hoops legend Ronnie Fields, Garnett led Farragut to a 28-2 record and took home scores of player of the year awards and individual accolades.
In the presser, Garnett detailed at length how the experience of playing in Chicago -- and, thus, against the fiercest of fierce competition -- prepared him for his basketball life after high school, which featured an immediate jump to the NBA and an eventual Hall of Fame career.
"Chicago gave me my swag. It gave me my attitude. It gave me a different presence," Garnett said. "Playing so many different types of players, so many intense players, players that were well-deserving of being right here where I'm at (in the Hall of Fame). I have never actually encountered that level of competition in that variety of different players. Nor have I played that many different areas of a place like Chicago.
"I played on the South Side, even though I was living on the West Side, which is something you don't really necessarily do -- a lot of times when you do that, you have to have permission. So a lot of times I was crossing barriers and getting the South Side and the West Side to actually interact, which was like a no-no. But I learned a lot, man.
"I feel like coming from Chicago, I was able and prepared to play in the NBA after that. I had so much exposure to survivals, lessons, and I like to always give Chicago the credit, that it gave me that 'it' to actually go from high school to the league. So I always give homage to the West Side, I give homage to the South Side, the whole city of Chicago for my progression and me being ready for the NBA."
Garnett went on to be selected No. 1 overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 1995 draft, and the rest is history. Twenty-one professional seasons, 15 All-Star nods, an MVP, Defensive Player of the Year and NBA title later, he's now poised to be enshrined among the sport's most influential forever.
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