- NBA Hall-of-Famer Kevin Garnett went right into the league out of high school.
- But many colleges tried to recruit Garnett in 1995, sometimes offering cash.
- Garnett said on the Dan Patrick Show that his grandmother pulled a gun on a recruiter who offered a bribe.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Kevin Garnett said his grandmother once pulled a shotgun on a college recruiter who tried to bribe him with cash.
Garnett, an NBA Hall-of-Famer, went straight into the league after he graduated high school in 1995. During a recent appearance on The Dan Patrick Show, he talked about how much college basketball programs tried to court him before then. As a two-time first-team Parade All-American, Garnett was a prized target for powerhouse NCAA programs.
The recruiting efforts were so relentless, Garnett said, that he moved from his mom’s house to live with his grandmother, Mill Garnett, in South Carolina in an attempt to avoid the storm of offers. But that wasn’t enough.
“I was staying with my grandmother at the time because recruiting was getting to the point where it was just obese and my mother thought it would be perfect or a better idea to change addresses,” Garnett told host Dan Patrick. “I had a certain recruiter come see me and he offered me some cash in front of my grandma, and she went and got the shotgun.”
-Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) June 4, 2021
Garnett didn’t reveal which school tried to bribe him.
The NCAA’s ethical-conduct policy states that student athletes are amateurs and prohibits monetary compensation for their performance. Under-the-table compensation is, of course, a violation of that policy,and can result in penalties to the athlete and program. Had Garnett accepted the cash bribe, he could have been suspended from college basketball had he been caught.
But NCAA policies aside, the bribe attempt violated Garnett’s grandmother’s personal ethics.
“She told me to always set the tone with people that could you can never be bought. If you can be bought once, you can be bought always,” Garnett said. “I had to tell him he and his bags and get the hell up out of here, or him and his bags weren’t going to make it out of here. I thanked him for coming through, I told him I loved his school, but this wasn’t going to work like this, and he wanted to talk and I think the quicker she put the shotgun together, the quicker he ended the conversation.”
The Minnesota Timberwolves drafted Garnett with the number 5 overall pick in the 1995 NBA Draft. During his 21-year NBA career, Garnett was a 15-time All-Star and the league MVP in 2004. He won a championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008, then retired after the 2016 season.
Garnett told Patrick that over the years, he has had a few run-ins with the recruiter who tried to bribe him.
“That guy is still around. Whenever I see him, I like to wink and be like, ‘How you doin’?'” Garnett said. “That’s just between him, myself, God, and my grandmother.”
Other college basketball players, however, have accepted under-the-table cash offers and faced harsh penalties. For example, Golden State Warriors rookie James Wiseman got a 12-game suspension from the NCAA in November 2019 for accepting $11,500 in moving expenses from University of Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway.
Wiseman chose not to return to Memphis after his suspension. He declared for the 2020 NBA Draft and was drafted by the Warriors with the number 2 pick.