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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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Chicago isn't hosting the 2026 World Cup, but fans should still be excited

Chicago isn't hosting the 2026 World Cup, but fans should still be excited

After failing to qualify to play in this summer’s World Cup, the United States’ pain was alleviated on Wednesday morning after earning a joint bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

But why is this bittersweet for Chicagoans?

Even though the World Cup will be hosted by the U.S., Mexico and Canada in eight years, matches will not be played in Chicago.

The city chose not to be one of the potential hosts of the world’s largest sporting event, despite using Soldier Field as a venue for the 1994 World Cup.

One of the reasons could be the low seating capacity of Chicago’s historic stadium. Soldier Field would be the second smallest spot out of any World Cup host option, seating only 61,500. The massive competition also draws enormous crowds, possibly causing logistical concerns for a highly-populated place like Chicago.

Ten out of 17 different cities in the United States will be gifted the opportunity to host 2026 World Cup games. The list includes Cincinnati (Paul Brown Stadium), Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium) and Nashville (Nissan Stadium), which are the closest domestic locations to Chicago.

The bright side is that fans from the Midwest won’t have to travel very far to see a match. For bigtime soccer fans in the Chicago area, having the chance to attend world-class matches in United States could be exciting enough.

Out of the 80 games taking place in 2026, 60 of them will be located in the United States.

Can this bid with Mexico and Canada at least help the relevancy of U.S. Soccer in the Chicago area?

The U.S. men’s national team missed this year’s World Cup at a very unideal time, just when it seemed like the sport of soccer was gaining more and more popularity in the United States.

Plus, the United States might not even get an automatic bid to play in their own World Cup as hosts.

But becoming a member of the first trio in FIFA history to host the World Cup, coupled with the expanded 48-team field in 2026, could help the United States retain the fans they have across the nation and around Chicago.

The World Cup might not be coming to the Windy City, but Chicagoans will still have something to be excited about in 2026 with games being played right around the corner. If the U.S. can qualify for the upcoming World Cups, having the tournament in North America will be much sweeter.

Until then, the 2018 World Cup kicks off this Thursday night in Russia.