Leaving Her Livid Over Hiding a Secret That Brought Immense Glory, Who Is Kevin Garnett’s Mother?

Published 07/06/2023, 10:50 AM EDT

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Kevin Garnett was one of the best two-way bigs to ever play in the league. The South Carolina native made quite the impression in 1995, becoming the first high school player to be drafted into the NBA since the ’70s. Finding a love for the sport in middle school, Garnett never looked back. Voted National High School Player of the Year and quickly titled ‘Mr. Basketball‘, KG’s talents came to light very early on.

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College and NBA scouts were on alert – a star was being born. Everybody had their eyes on him, except, somehow, for his mother. While all of this was unfolding, Shirley Garnett had no clue, as her son kept it a secret, afraid of losing it all.

Who is Shirley Garnett?

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Shirley Garnett was a strong and independent woman who held the responsibility of being a father and a mother to her children. She and Kevin’s father split up days after KG was born, leaving Shirley to be a single mother.

Although she went on to marry Ernest Irby later on, little is known about him, except the fact that KG and him never really saw eye to eye. Shirley worked graveyard shifts at hotels and factories before moving to Mauldin. It is here that Shirley started her entrepreneurial journey opening a salon named ‘Mi Shop Beauty Salon’.

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Shirley believed that hard work was the key to success. A woman of action, she once stated, “If you want anything in this life, you gotta work hard for it. You gotta go out there and get it.”

Shirley Garnett, a hardworking woman, wanted her children to have a good life. In her eyes that meant a proper education and barring any activities that would be distracting.

Knowing his mother’s reluctance, KG kept basketball a secret from her, as he feared going against her wishes.

KG’s mom almost ended his basketball career

The secret lasted pretty long with Garnett later revealing that his mother did not find out about him playing basketball, until a year before his draft. He once stated, encapsulating the fear he carried toward his mother, “There are two things I’m scared of in life. It’s God and my mom.”

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It was only when a client of hers revealed her son’s basketball talents that Shirley found out about KG’s hardwood antics. Livid, Shirley rushed into his gym and coldly stated, “Yo a** is mine when you get home.”

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KG would later share that he was actually scared to go home after his mother popped up at the gym. Thankfully, the NBA legend did manage to go home and come out of the situation unscathed. Although reluctant about his basketball aspirations at first, Shirley had a change of heart when she saw KG hoop for the first time.

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Seeing that he had his heart set out on the game, she became his greatest supporter and critic, helping him through 19 years in the league. The rest was history. Kevin Garnett was a Defensive Player of the Year, an MVP and a champion.

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Written by:

Arian Kashyap

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Arian Kashyap is an NBA Writer at EssentiallySports. He has college degrees in Physical Education and Sport Sciences and has been writing since 2019. He actively follows the NBA, and though he is a Miami Heat fan, Arian likes to provide all NBA lovers with captivating content that also helps educate his readers.
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Edited by:

Aakash Nair

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