Welcome to this week’s WearTesters Weekender, I hope you enjoy the team’s deep dive into the career and sneaker history of Kevin Garnett, given recent events. Feel free to address the questions asked or anything that comes to mind in the comments section below, KG quotes are perfectly appropriate.
The Big Ticket
Talk to a young, casual basketball fan about Kevin Garnett this week, and they may say they didn’t realize KG ever played on the Timberwolves. Sounds blasphemous (because it is), but that type of conversation happened to me yesterday. It took everything in my power to remain calm, level my voice, and refrain from breaking out my laptop for some educational refreshment.
I’ve followed The Kid for as long as I can remember liking basketball. I was drawn to his youthful exuberance, smiles, screams, and overwhelming passion for the game at a very young age. He looked like he was having more fun than anyone else out there, and I couldn’t stop watching. I rocked the iconic black alternate jersey in my youth size, learned to play unselfishly, and even stole a life size cardboard cutout of him from my school. I think that is more than enough to establish my deeply rooted fanhood, so enough about me, let’s talk KG.
The reality I have to accept, is that so many people judge a player’s clout and career success by championships. Everyone remembers ’08 Celtics team. The winning streaks, the chemistry, the beginning of the big 3 craze, and all those game 7 victories (the stress took years off of my life). He lead a defensive juggernaut (shoutout to Tom Thibodeau) to a championship in the first year after an unprecedented roster overhaul. Most basketball fans easily recognize his “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!” war cry at center court, an explosion of energy at the culminating moment of his career.
He was incredible on the Celtics, when he wasn’t injured they were a clear contender. Very few people who watched all of their playoff games in 2010 would disagree with the notion that the Lakers would have fallen to the Celtics again had Kendrick Perkins not sustained an injury in Game 6. He also had a monster playoffs in 2012 at the age of 36, carrying the Celtics within one game of the Finals. The rest is history, but he returned to Minnesota this week, life comes full circle.
It is time to briefly reflect on his career before Boston. Mind you, this is also before the deal with Anta. Making sneakers with sub-par materials and zero availability in the U.S. (yeah, I’m upset by that)……side bar: Let’s discuss this in the comments!…. He never had the coach, the system, and the supporting cast that Tim Duncan enjoyed, yet they have been compared for as long as they’ve shared the league. Kevin Garnett is the emotionally charged, explosive forward that guarded anyone 1-5 and could do it all offensively.
His stats from 1999-2007 were ridiculous, and its hard to forget his MVP season with a trip to the Western Conference Finals in ’03-’04. Look up his assist averages during that time to see how unselfish and adept he was at playmaking from the power forward position. If you remember watching him battling through years with Michael Olowokandi, Terrell Brandon, Wally Szczerbiak and Latrell Sprewell by his side then you definitely understand this legendary adidas commercial. This commercial aired in the 2004-2005 season for the adidas Artillery line. It plays to Garnett’s willingness to take on responsibility and carry the team and the city of Minneapolis along with him. It cracks me up every time, and it also makes me think of the incredible success KG may have had on a big market team with a consistently good supporting cast.
Now, he returns to the Timberwolves as a mentor and an example for the rising young Wolves. He will have to teach Wiggins how to lead, LaVine how to hang tough, and probably bring Bennett out of his black hole of struggle from day one in the NBA. If I recall correctly, even Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis and Leon Powe had transcendent performances and played well with consistency when KG was around to mentor them. I like the move because The Kid gets to play out his career back home. Also, he is now in a better position to try and buy the team from aging owner Glen Taylor some day.
Well, that’s enough about his career, let’s get into his shoes. If anyone wants to discuss Garnett’s career in the comments, feel free to comment!
I didn’t have the money or the need for basketball shoes during the time KG was with Nike, and although I have recently began collecting his old Nike models, I’ll let Nightwing break down his favorites from what was arguable KG’s golden age of shoes.
– Nightwing2303 –
There are many shoes that Kevin Garnett has worn over the years that I’d love to discuss, but to keep things semi short… we’ll just go over my top picks.
– Shoelander23 –
One of the first shoes I ever researched online was the Nike KG 3 (which was renamed to the Air Max III.) I saw them at an outlet around 2009 and the shoe just looked so unique. From the gradient panels, to the lines on the lateral side, the shoe was just hypnotizing.
I have to agree with Shoelander on this one, the Nike Air Garnett III is definitely my favorite of his time with Nike for a number of reasons. In the words of their designer Aaron Cooper: “The fade fit KG’s personality and the idea of ‘glowing energy’. He’s one of the most energetic people I know. The outsole design was inspired by a nuclear atom – something that radiates energy forever. The bottom of the shoe was the energy source, and that radiates up the shoe.” I think the design inspiration was fantastic and truly identify and adore this sneaker. Hopefully I will get my hands on a pair soon!
Garnett wasn’t with AND1 for a very long or memorable time, but a couple of our writer’s still remember his shoes and his advertisements sticking out to them. If an AND1 commercial aired on TV now with a big name athlete you would probably wonder if the world was ending or if it was some sort of overblown throwback thursday prank.
– Noah Goldowitz –
I’ll be completely honest: I love the And1 KG2. It was probably a terrible shoe but I love the way it looks and I stalk ebay everyday for pairs in my size. It has a fake air bubble in the heel haha but I still really love that style of basketball shoe, a lot of silhouettes used to have that shape back then.
– Jarron Ramos –
Garnett is an interesting guy when it comes to sneakers. He started with Nike, then went to And 1, hopped over to adidas, and now is signed with ANTA. That’s four different signatures with four different brands, wow. But the one sneaker moment I’ll always remember from ‘The Big Ticket’ is this commercial with AND1:
In regards to his time with adidas, I’m partial to a few choice shoes. First and foremost was the adidas a3 Garnett that came out right around the time that I started playing basketball a ton. It was one of my very first sneakers for a season and I played them to the death. I vividly remember, once they lost all of their traction I took them to the playground. I recently re-acquired a pair in my Men’s size and I couldn’t be happier. The bounce heel cushion system is bulky and not too effective, but the upper is a pretty nice leather with serious comfort provided by the padding inside. Honestly, I think it is a very clean, sleek design.
My next favorite would have to be the adidas KG Bounce ’07 Las Vegas All-Star colorway. This pair was part of the off-court collection for adidas’ Big-Five stars at the game.It is not a shoe I’d aspire to play in because it is ridiculously heavy and bulky at the heel, but I really love the details and the specialty theme. Also, it is probably my most treasured KG shoe. This model features one of the most powerful storytelling traction patterns in the history of sneakers. On one shoe is the people, places, and events that shaped him in South Carolina, and on the other shoe are those that shaped him in Chicago. It is a tasteful tribute to the things that made KG who he is, the foundations of his character, and I thoroughly enjoy seeing them. They also have playing cards with Garnett’s face and adidas logo on each one throughout the upper. The materials are very nice and there are design hints like his signature and the card suites in emerald green on the collar that really stand out to me.
Last, but certainly not least is the adidas TS Commander from the ’08 Finals. This was the culminating moment of his career, when his passion and intensity finally came to fruition. I had these shoes at the time and played in them until the upper graphics were worn off and rips took hold in multiple locations, I still have them, thankfully! I really loved the gradient coloring with the silhouette of KG’s face on the ankle collar and the Championship trophy on the instep. They were sleek, light than previous adidas models, and fun to play in. Also, I will forever associate them with a moment that I still use to motivate me before final exams:
If you love defense, then you’ll never forget this late game moment when he got down on all fours and slapped the floor with vigor, intimidation and championship level focus.
In Case You Missed It…
This is what shoe lines should do every year – take the previous and improve, or at least not drop off. The Rev 2015 improves on everything except cushioning – traction is better, the fit is better (slightly), the support is better, and the materials should be more durable. Again, these are a fun shoe to wear
Nike Kyrie 1 Performance Review – Nightwing2303
However, I honestly feel that there is better bang for your buck options out there. Whether it be an older model found on-sale or even something newer like the KB Mentality or Curry One – both of which offer you more for your money. They’re not bad for a first shoe, but they don’t have me eager to lace them up again.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s WearTesters Weekender, thank you for reading and we hope you leave your thoughts and comments so we can engage in some discussion below! If there are any other KG fans out there, let me know!
Images and video via youtube, solecollector, footlocker, niketalk, AP, Getty Images