Marc And Daniel Levin Call Kevin Garnett's Jump From High School To NBA 'A Spontaneous Phenomena Of Twisted Fate'
(ViacomCBS) - SHOWTIME unveils a brand new documentary looking into the life and career of Kevin Garnett tonight at 8PM ET/PT. Kevin Garnett: Anything Is Possible was produced and directed by the father-son duo of Marc and Daniel Levin. In addition to interviews with Garnett himself, the documentary also features commentary from the likes of former teammate Sam Cassell, rival Pau Gasol and even Snoop Dogg.
CBS' Matt Weiss spoke to Marc and Daniel Levin about the documentary and what they've learned about "The Big Ticket."
MW- Marc, Daniel, good to see you both! Kevin Garnett: Anything Is Possible comes to SHOWTIME on November 12th at 8pm. You both have a lot of experience with pro athletes, what was it about KG that made you want to make him the focus of your next documentary?
ML- Well, to start and then I'll turn it over to Dan, I met KG at a Super Bowl party. We ended up getting in quite a fascinating conversation about some of the street gangs scene in Chicago. He knew I wanted to film a number of films that dealt with that world. He was fascinated by the Gangster Disciples and Lary Hoover who founded the Gangster Disciples and I was just amazed by his range of interests.
You know, we barely got to basketball. He was interested in such a wide variety of subjects and then of course when I saw Uncut Gems I realized his performance ability. He is obviously an incredible athlete but he's an amazing performer, storyteller, critic. We discussed his Content Cartel he was starting so it seemed like a natural fit to kick off that new enterprise with an amazing documentary about his life.
DL- We're both basketball fans and I would say 90's basketball shaped my outlook on. KG was such a pivotal role in all that but I think what really fascinated me about him was his disrupter nature within the NBA. He had these, what we call, four pillars of how he changed the NBA. The first and probably the most well known was he was the first to come straight from high school for 20 years. Second of course, was his $126 million contract that sort of changed the business of sports.
Then of course how he changed the position of the power forward and how he evolved it from the traditional back to the basket player to spreading out the floor, being able to ball handle. The fourth was his move to Boston which jumpstarted the modern era of the super team. The Boston "Big Three" really kicked off the super team era, which we're still in.
All of those things fascinated us and interested about him. As Marc said, his storytelling ability is unbelievable, you're just captivated by him. So really, combining those two elements was the the initial framework of the documentary.
MW- What did you learn about that decision to go straight to the pros and all the fallout that came along with that decision?
ML- Yeah, well obviously his senior year of high school when he gets to Chicago is such a pivotal year. You know, he was a kid from South Carolina and he gets into a sort of altercation that makes him leave his hometown and he ultimately ultimately ended up at Farragut in Chicago. So all the ingredients of that year culminate in this amazing story. He was a country kid from South Carolina thrown in the middle of Chicago and that decision to go pro was not a thought out game plan but was kind of a spontaneous phenomena of twisted fate.
He was playing in this amazing pickup game and he's given some sage wisdom from Isaiah Thomas, which sort of turned the light on. He told KG he could play in the NBA and that sort of sparked something in him. The fallout initially I think people were very skeptical of him and skeptical of his abilities to come straight into the NBA.
But then the next year in '96 You have Kobe drafted and the cascade of players just started coming right from High School, he really opened the floodgate. As he originally liked to call it, he was the rip in the matrix that became a giant tear.
MW- And you guys were able to get a number of his peers involved, guys like Sam Cassell, Pau Gasol to name a few. How valuable was their insight?
DL- We were blessed to get such a wide cast of characters. It's amazing talking to all these people about KG. The admiration and the respect Sam Cassell has for KG was a surprise to me, I didn't realize how close of a relationship they had.
Then you have Paul Pierce, you have Rondo you have Doc Rivers. It was just an amazing cast of characters and then we have KG as the center voice. He's a one man show just telling his life on a stage it's unbelievable.
MW- So you mentioned one of those big pillars in KG's career is that Celtics team he helped created. When you think about that unit and what the lasting impression for you?
ML- Well as a New Yorker I was of course rooting against him during regular season. I was amazed how intense of a competitor Kevin was. There was something about him, even as a non-Celtic fan that moved me and so when they finally won, I remember thinking wow, what a story.
He did ultimately come to New York with the Nets but he and Paul Pierce were kind of at the end of their careers and so there were definitely mixed feelings I think.
DL- One of the fascinating things that we uncovered about that team and about Kevin and Paul's relationship is that it goes way back to when they were teenagers. Paul Pierce always tells a story that he tried to get him to come to Englewood and get him to come finish this high school career in California.
So I think those two were always friends, which was amazing, I never knew that. The fact that they got to team up Boston was amazing. Kevin really took this narrative into his own head when he saw that he had a chance to win a championship by combining the forces of all these all-star caliber players that at all had never won championships but that they could together.
MW- One of the most fascinating things, I think, about Garnett's career was his return to Minnesota. A lot of athletes sign one day contracts to retire where they started but it felt different with Garnett. He was drafted to Minnesota at 19-year-old kid, has this odyssey of a career and then goes back as a 38-year-old man. What did you learn about that second stint in Minnesota and how much that meant to him?
DL- Yeah, I think that's part two of this movie. I think Kevin always had a love for Minnesota, he always had a love for the city. It's the place that gave him a chance and of course he had a lot of admiration for his coach Flip Saunders. I think when he was on his way back at the end of his career he thought he would become a bigger part of the team once he retired along with Flip.
I think that's something that he was always looking forward to and then of course tragically Flip passes away and things sort of deteriorated. But yea when he returned he was the veteran looking out for the younger stars like Sam Cassell did for him when he was young. He was coming back as a mentor and and a veteran and I think it's a perfect full circle for his career. I think it really meant a lot to him.
MW- Well thank you both so much for the time and I'm certainly looking forward to checking out the documentary when it drops this Friday on SHOWTIME. Thank you both!
ML- Thank you!
DL- Thanks, Matt.
Kevin Garnett: Anything Is Possible comes to SHOWTIME on Friday, November 12th at 8PM ET/PT. Check your local listings for more information.
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