Michael Walton

Kevin Garnett never forgets the role Chicago played in his life

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USA TODAY

Kevin Garnett never forgets the role Chicago played in his life

Kevin Garnett is a 15-time All-Star, Defensive Player of the Year, MVP, and NBA Champion, so it's safe to say that 'The Big Ticket' knows a thing or two about leadership.

The 43-year old former NBA superstar and actor Adam Sandler were on Thursday's episode of the 'Pardon My Take' Podcast to discuss their starring roles in the upcoming film 'Uncut Gems' as well as their careers up to this point. When asked how he became a great leader after coming into the NBA as a mere high schooler, Garnett was quick to credit his time spent in Chicago (as a student at Farragut Career Academy High School). 

Moving to Chicago helped me understand different types of people. Y'know, every day in the street, I'd like to think that I interacted with a different personality or something so much that when I got into the league, you're in the locker room with arguably 14 other guys [with] different characteristics, different makeups...you're just dealing with a bunch of different cultures in the room, and I just learned how to interact, and how to y'know, tone it down at times, turn it up at times, bring it all together, try to keep it all together, and I found myself having 14 different connections. I learned all that through living in Chicago.

-Kevin Garnett on living in Chicago as a teen

Garnett was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina and was a standout at Mauldin High School in Mauldin, South Carolina. He was involved in an incident involving a huge fight between students at Mauldin in which many students, Garnett included, were arrested. Any charges against Garnett were eventually expunged as he had no direct involvement in the incident and was simply a bystander. But the incident was enough for Garnett and his family to feel like he may be a target due to his rising fame as a preps hoops star and influenced his move to Chicago for his senior year of high school. 

Though the move helped the young Garnett adjust to dealing with different personalities in his soon-to-come NBA life, it also helped him deal with people from all different walks of life in general, which has paid dividends later on, such as now, when he is acting in his first starring role and dealing with an entirely new set of challenges. 

"Learning how to 'whoa man can we get outta this? and 'How we gonna get outta this?'... that all helped me to come into the league and dealing with older people and professionalism and guys with money."

Garnett handled his NBA career with aplomb and now he is having a very successful post-NBA run, and he never forgets the role Chicago played in making him into the man he is today.

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Jabari Parker says he has moved on from his rough stint with the Bulls

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Jabari Parker says he has moved on from his rough stint with the Bulls

Jabari Parker's stint with the Bulls was an intriguing one, filled with some nice highlights but mostly drama once he was taken out of Jim Boylen's rotation. Of course, Parker started the 2018-19 season with Fred Hoiberg as his head coach. Once the Bulls fired Hoiberg and moved on to Boylen, it quickly became clear that Parker wasn't going to be in the long-term plans for the Bulls who, for better or worse, were going through a big-time culture change.

Parker—now an Atlanta Hawk—returned to Chicago to play the Bulls on Wednesday and in comments made to ESPN, he made it clear that while he (says he) holds no ill will towards the franchise, he feels the city of Chicago will always have his back.

"I just had to move on, but that never changed about how I feel about my city."

Indeed, Parker is known around Chicago for — outside of the obvious, like being a former No. 2 overall pick in the NBA Draft and one of the greatest high school basketball players in Simeon's and Illinois' illustrious hoops history —  the many free basketball camps he holds around the city, which provide an opportunity for the Chicago youth to get some great basketball tutelage and stay out of trouble, all without placing further financial strain on families. 

What has been impressive about Parker in regards to his philanthropic efforts throughout Chicago is the consistency. Parker has been active in the Chicago community since his time at Simeon, during his years with the Bucks, and has even stayed connected to the city during his stint with the Washington Wizards and his current time with the Hawks. 

Parker surely wasn't pleased with how things ended in Chicago, stating in different interviews since then that all he ever wanted was an "opportunity to play". The situation worked out in the long run for both sides, as the Bulls trade that sent Parker to Washington netted them valuable 3-and-D wing Otto Porter Jr. and Parker got to play over 27 minutes a night with the Wizards, playing well enough to land a two-year, $13 million contract with the Hawks.

Atlanta is in the midst of their own rebuild, affording Parker just over 27.8 minutes per game, his highest average since the 2016-17 season. He wasn't able to get a "revenge victory" over the Bulls on Wednesday night, scoring 11 points on 5-for-10 shooting as the Bulls ran away with a 34-point win. But his comments before the game were heard loud and clear: Parker may feel that he has no connection at all to the franchise that he only played a mere 39 games for but like his father (Chicago hoops legend Sonny Parker) did before him, Parker will continue to do his best to bring positive change to Chicago communities, be it as a Chicago Bull or not. 

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Chicago-native Zach Norvell Jr. waived by Lakers

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Chicago-native Zach Norvell Jr. waived by Lakers

The Bulls have been quite fond of adding players with connections to the city over the years. This list includes names like Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Jabari Parker, Eddy Curry, and even our very own Kendall Gill. And while the Bulls may not necessarily be in the market for any additions at the moment, there is least one name the Bulls should be monitoring if they aren't already and that is former Simeon alum Zach Norvell Jr., who was waived by the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. 

Coming out of Simeon, Norvell was an ESPN 100 prospect and a McDonald's All-American and committed to Gonzaga, where he starred for two seasons after a redshirt year. Norvell went undrafted but was picked up by a Los Angeles Lakers team that was particularly bereft of 3-point shooting, specifically volume 3-point shooters like Norvell, who shot 6.4 3-point attempts per game in his NCAA career and is currently attempting just under eight 3-point attempts per game in the NBA G League with the South Bay Lakers. 

The (NBA) Lakers don't really require much help at the moment, with their stellar defense and league-leading field goal percentage on offense resulting in them having the league's best record through 24 games despite ranking 25th in the league in 3-point attempts. The Bulls have, as head coach Jim Boylen so infamously stated, trusted 'the math' and thusly are top-10 in the league in 3-point attempts per game (8th in the league with 36.0 3-point attempts per game coming into Wednesday night). Despite their aggressiveness from the perimeter, the Bulls rank 22nd in the league in 3-point percentage (34.7%) and 22nd in assists per game, both areas where Norvell could provide help.

Since Norvell has been waived by the Lakers, he is no longer a two-way contract player (a player who plays in the NBA and G League) for them, but will still be playing with their G League affiliate should they choose to sign him to a G League contract.

The Bulls have the maximum amount of two-way players on the roster already (two in Adam Mokoka and Max Strus) but they could look to make a move to free up room for Norvell on the G League or NBA roster if they are interested. Mokoka specifically has struggled at the G League level (8.5 points per game on 34% from the field and 31% from 3) and may not necessarily need a two-way contract for the Bulls to keep other teams from snagging him, meaning that waiving Mokoka but keeping him on the Windy City Bulls roster while adding a shooter like Norvell could be an interesting value play for Chicago. 

Norvell is averaging 13.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.9 turnovers per game while shooting 35.3% from the field and 34% from 3-point range.

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Bulls games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.