Bulls

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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NBA Mock Draft 3.0: Workout season could be more important than ever

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USA TODAY

NBA Mock Draft 3.0: Workout season could be more important than ever

With Zion Williamson making his NBA regular season debut Wednesday night, we finally got a chance to see what a No. 1 overall draft pick is supposed to look like: an athletic and versatile skill set, with the chance to impact a franchise for years to come. 

2019 No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant also looks like a franchise-changing talent with his speed and playmaking ability, lifting Memphis into playoff contention.

So, which players will have that kind of impact in the 2020 draft?

Well, for now it’s almost impossible to say. James Wiseman, the 7-foot-1 Memphis center, dropped out of school after playing just three games because of an eligibility battle with the NCAA. His size and raw tools are intriguing, but at this point his offensive game is extremely limited.

Meanwhile, Lonzo Ball’s younger brother, LaMelo is sitting out the rest of the Australian professional league season while he rehabs from a foot injury, another Australian professional, R.J. Hampton, just returned from a hip injury and North Carolina’s combo guard Cole Anthony is getting ready to return from a knee injury to finish his one and done season. 

That’s left NBA talent evaluators scrambling in trying to figure out the top of the draft, with only Georgia’s Anthony Edwards healthy and available among the players projected as the possible No. 1 overall pick. 

So, as we get closer to the end of January, here’s a look at how teams could view the available talent, with the understanding that the draft order will change dramatically as NBA scouts and GMs get a look at how players perform in the most important games of the season still to come.

2020 NBA mock draft 3.0

Kemba Walker and Trae Young being named All-Star starters could help Zach LaVine

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USA Today

Kemba Walker and Trae Young being named All-Star starters could help Zach LaVine

On Thursday, the NBA revealed the East and West starters for the 2020 All-Star Game in Chicago. Take a look:


Bulls fans will be honed in on the East selections given Zach LaVine's absence, though his realistic chances of starting the game have been slim-to-none since the first month of the season. In the last round of fan voting returns, LaVine was sixth among Eastern Conference backcourt players. He finished there, as well:


LaVine will get a chance to slide into a reserve slot, but the East’s starting backcourt of Kemba Walker and Trae Young leaves a crowded field to contend with. Guards competing for the seven reserve spots include Ben Simmons, Khris Middleton, Kyle Lowry, Bradley Beal, Malcolm Brogdon and Jaylen Brown. And that's without mentioning frontcourt favorites in Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Jayson Tatum and Domantas Sabonis.

But a modicum of good news did come from this announcement for those stumping for LaVine: Kyrie Irving's omission from the starting lineup. Irving, who has only played 15 games this season, had been second in fan voting at the time of last returns. Had he snuck in with the starters, LaVine would have also had Walker or Young to compete with for a reserve spot, both of whom he matches up with unfavorably. One has to figure Irving's odds of being selected by coaches as a reserve aren't high.

LaVine's chances still aren't necessarily great, but the coaches' picks for reserves will be announced on Jan. 30. If LaVine is shorted there, as well, there remains the possibility of an injury replacement down the road, which, commissioner Adam Silver would select (this is probably his best shot).

Once the final pool of players is decided, they'll be drafted by team captains Giannis Antetokoumpo and LeBron James on Feb. 6.

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