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Kevin Garnett Snuck Into A Bulls Practice in High School And Held His Own Against Scottie Pippen

Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett was only 19 years old when he was drafted by the Timberwolves, but he was pretty confident he had what it took to make it in the NBA thanks to what unfolded when he got the chance to go head-to-head with Scottie Pippen after sneaking in a Bulls practice as a high schooler.

A handful of notable NBA players had skipped college and entered the league straight out of high school prior to Kevin Garnett, but the lanky big man was responsible for the floodgates really opening up after he declared for the draft in 1995 before being selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the fifth overall pick.

It was a fairly controversial decision at the time, and there were plenty of people who questioned if Garnett had the physical and emotional maturity required to hold his own with the best players on the planet. However, as you likely know, he firmly proved he was ready after kicking off a career that ended with him being enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Based on a story about his time in high school, there were also three fellow Hall of Famers who were probably convinced he had what it took before he’d gotten his diploma.

Isiah Thomas told Kevin Garnett to skip college and declare for the NBA Draft after watching him play Scottie Pippen at a practice he snuck into

Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett

The tale in question was chronicled in KG: A to Z: An Uncensored Encyclopedia of Life, Basketball, and Everything in Between, the memoir Garnett published in 2021.

Garnett was born and raised in South Carolina, and while he was living there for the first three years of his college basketball career, he relocated to Chicago for his senior season after an incident that led to him being arrested and charged with lynching a fellow student.

KG had already made quite a name for himself by the time he enrolled at Farragut Academy following the move, which led to DePaul joining Maryland, South Carolina, and Michigan on the list of schools that unsuccessfully recruited him.

However, the hype really started to grow when he accepted an invitation from a friend who’d heard the Bulls were practicing at a Hilton in Chicago in 1995.

The two teenagers were eventually able to infiltrate the gym where Michael Jordan (who was gearing up for his return from his minor league baseball hiatus), Scottie Pippen, and the rest of the team were getting in some reps. They spent around an hour watching from afar before attracting the attention of a security guard, who pointed at Garnett and yelled, “You, big fella. Get down there.”

Garnett laced up his shoes and headed down onto the court where he was greeted by Pippen, who remarked, “You too young to be out here. You just a high school kid.” Jordan decided to give that high school kid a chance to make his teammate eat his words, as he told KG he was tasked with guarding his second-hand man.

Pippen wasted no time putting him to the test by hitting a lengthy three, but Garnett was able to answer with a dunk and quickly got into a groove while successfully matching up with an NBA player more than 10 years his elder.

When the game came to an end, Garnett headed off of the hardwood and was approached by a Chicago native who’d been watching the action from the sideline: Isiah Thomas. He was understandably impressed by what he’d witnessed, remarking,  “Kevin, you just took on Scottie Pippen. Scottie’s the best player in the league. Boy, you could play in the league right now.”

It was at that point Garnett realized he actually had what it took to forgo college entirely, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The post Kevin Garnett Snuck Into A Bulls Practice in High School And Held His Own Against Scottie Pippen appeared first on BroBible.


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