Where Are They Now? Dean Garrett

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Where Are they Now?

During October of 1996, Dean Garrett was trying to finally make it in the NBA. Since leaving Indiana University in 1988, Garrett played in Italy for seven years and in Greece for one year. But he always had his sights on eventually playing in the NBA. He made the Wolves squad that fall and played six seasons with Minnesota, Denver and Golden State.

Fast Forward to 2005 and Dean Garrett is back in Minnesota - not as a player, but as an entrepreneur. The 38-year-old is part-owner of three downtown Minneapolis businesses: Escape nightclub and Bellanote restaurant in the Block E development, and 612 Wireless. a Nextel retail store in City Center. Besides being a financial backer, Garrett has varying degrees of involvement with the ventures and is getting his business education on the fly.

“At Escape and here [612 Wireless], I’m more hands on,” Garrett explained “It’s not something I went to school for and never thought I’d be doing this, so everyday is kind of like on-the-job training. At Bellanote it’s more financial backing, I don’t really make any decisions but just try and help out if needed. We have some advertising at Target Center [for Bellanote] and I got that done. At Escape, I’m in there everyday making decisions.”

While Garrett tries to make a name for himself in the business world, Wolves fans remember the 6-11 center as being a hard-working player in his four-plus seasons in Minnesota. As a rookie in 1996-97, Garrett averaged career-highs with 8.0 points and 57.3 percent shooting from the field. He excelled in the playoffs that season, averaging 12.7 points and 11.7 rebounds. Garrett lists that playoff series, the first ever for the Wolves, as his highlight with the Timberwolves.

“The first playoff, just knowing that you are a part of being the first Timberwolves team to ever go to the playoffs [was memorable],” Garrett said. “The teams that they’ve had recently are better, but people remember those first playoff teams too. That’s something that will always be with me.”

He also is proud to count Kevin Garnett as his former teammate and current friend. “Seeing a guy like Kevin Garnett become the person that he is now is something that I relish because you kinda feel like you had a little something to do with that.”

After Garrett retired from the NBA in 2002, he moved to Las Vegas and, as he puts it, “was not really doing anything.” He had made some friends at Minneapolis’ South Beach night club while with the Timberwolves and they contacted him with a business proposition.

“My friends said, ‘You should come back home. This is home, this is where your family and friends are and you should be back here and we’ll keep you busy,’ ” Garrett recalled. “A lot of people look at it like ‘You left Las Vegas to come back to the cold of Minneapolis?’ But it’s not where you’re at, it’s who you’re with. I have a lot of good friends here. Once I thought about it for maybe five minutes, I was like, ‘Okay, I’m going to sell my house and I’m on my way.’ ”

Now, eight years after making his dream of playing in the NBA a reality, Garrett is on his way to becoming a success in the business world.