Back in 1985, Gatorade established an award honoring the nation's top high school student-athletes. Since then, the Gatorade Player of the Year award has recognized more than 12,500 state and national winners in 12 sports.
Gatorade Player of the Year alumni include household names like Kobe, LeBron, Peyton Manning, Derek Jeter, Candace Parker, Kerri Walsh and Abby Wambach — a distinguished group, indeed.
This week we're catching up with Boston Celtics big man Kevin Garnett and five-time Gatorade State POY Emily Sisson.
Kevin Garnett’s uniqueness on the basketball court shows clearly in the fact that he is the only player in NBA history with 25,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 5,000 assists, 1,500 blocks and 1,500 steals.
Garnett also shares a distinct place in Gatorade Player of the Year archives. He is one of two athletes in the program’s 28-year history to win Player of the Year honors in two states.
Garnett was the 1993-94 Gatorade South Carolina Boys Basketball Player of the Year as a junior at Mauldin. The next year, Garnett transferred to Farragut Academy in Chicago and won Gatorade Illinois Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
The only other athlete to pull off that feat was Emily Sisson, a five-time Gatorade winner – three for Girls Cross Country and two for Girls Track & Field. Sisson won her first two Gatorade awards in the 2007-08 school year at Millard North in Omaha, Neb. She then won three more times (two cross country and one track) over the next two years at Parkway Central in Chesterfield, Mo.
Sisson, now a junior at Providence College, is one of the top 5,000-meter runners in the country, finishing fourth at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track Championships and placing 12th at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. Just a few weeks ago, on Jan. 29, Sisson won the 5,000-meter run at the Boston University Terrier Invitational with an NCAA-season best time of 15:44.40, earning BIG East Female Track Athlete of the Week honors.
A few days and a few miles down the road at TD Garden, Garnett made a little history of his own. The Boston Celtics big man became the 16th player in NBA history to reach 25,000 points in the Celtics’ 116-95 win on Feb. 7 over the Los Angeles Lakers.
And before he reached that rarified air, Garnett was already the only player in NBA history with 20,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 5,000 assists, 1,500 blocks and 1,500 steals. No one else is even close. Only three other players have even reached four of those five marks: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and Hakeem Olajuwon, and LeBron James is the only player in the foreseeable future who might possibly join them.
That’s some pretty good company. They might not be Emily Sisson, but those guys can hold their own.