Oh, that stare. That snarl. Kevin Garnett was an incredible talent and supremely entertaining character. He was a likable villain; maybe the NBA’s favorite “bad guy” of all time.
In an era of great power forwards, Garnett absorbed major fan support at the position. He finished top five in All-Star votes among Western Conference forwards in each of his first six seasons. Twice, he earned the most votes of a bunch that included Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Tim Duncan, Shawn Kemp, Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Webber, depending on the year.
The numbers from his MVP season still drop jaws. Playing in all 82 games, he averaged 24.2 points, 13.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists per contest. He shot 50.6 percent and hit a 3-ball every once in a while, a rarity for a big man back in the day. A defensive monster, he rejected 2.2 blocks per game while swiping 1.5 steals a night. Just dominance, everywhere.
Garnett averaged a double-double over 21 seasons (that’s nearly three complete runs of Game of Thrones), with 17.8 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. Coming out of a Chicago high school — where he dominated — scouts wondered if Garnett would be too slender for the NBA. The Minnesota Timberwolves took a chance on him and it paid off. Maybe Cleveland will do the same with its No. 5 pick.