Kevin and I actually played together when we were in high school.
He played on my traveling team. I even got to bring him to my home in Inglewood! My AAU coach found Kev and talked him into coming and playing with us. Kevin had heard about me, but he hadn’t seen me play at the time.
We wanted him to come to Vegas with us for this tournament because we thought it would put us over the top. We made it to the championship and lost for like three straight years.
Paul Pierce (left) and Kevin Garnett together during the 2009 playoffs in April. (Jim Davis / Globe Staff)
I guess my coach had met him at Nike camp. He came out and stayed with me and my moms. He was with me and he was talking about moving schools and I was trying to get him to come out to Inglewood that next year, because he was moving to South Carolina.
Then when we first established our relationship and it’s funny, after that he just jumped ship.
The next year we’re seniors. Then we go to McDonalds All-American. Next thing you know, he’s already in the NBA.
I’m like, “Man!”
I didn’t even know that was possible at the time.
Moses Malone, Darryl Dawkins. Those guys did it, but that was what it was like in the ’70s, right? We didn’t even know that was possible.
I’m not sure of the story, but I think that Isiah Thomas told KG he could go straight into the NBA Draft. I’m not sure, but I do recall he was one of the ones who informed him he could go into the draft and that he would be a top pick.
Next thing you know, he’s in the league. And the rest is history, but I’ll tell you one thing. I’m sure glad we got to play together again, even if we did have to wait almost 10 years