So the Boston Celtics dropped a bomb on everyone last night with a surprise video announcing they would be retiring Kevin Garnett’s No. 5 next season.
With all due respect to Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett will forever be my favorite Celtics player of all-time. Passionate, proud, psychotically competitive, and willing to do anything to win. They do not make them like KG anymore.
After Pierce had his No. 34 retired two years ago it was only a matter of time until KG had his number raised to the rafters. Some may question why the C’s are retiring yet another number (currently at 22 numbers), let alone for a guy who only played six seasons in Boston. Garnett changed the entire culture of the franchise; that’s why.
Without KG the Celtics simply do not win that title in 07-08 and who knows where the franchise winds up. Maybe they continue to suck, maybe Pierce gets shipped out of town, and an entire generation of Boston kids never care about the Celtics. Garnett was that impactful.
People forget just how bad the Celtics were in 2006 as they went an abysmal 24-58 led by the likes of Al Jefferson, Delonte West, Ryan Gomes, and Wally Szczerbiak. That team also rostered a young Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair, Perk, Scalabrine, and the immortal Michael Olowokandi. Not exactly shocking they were the worst team in the league not named Memphis.
That 06-07 season was a mere 12 months before the Celtics would become the best team in the league and complete the biggest single season improvement in league history. In 2007-08 the newly constructed Celtics led by KG, Pierce, and Ray Allen came out the box fully assembled and rocketed to 29-3 start as they ultimately went 66-16 en route to beating the Lakers in the Finals.
To put it simply, Garnett made it fun to be a Celtics fan again. He adopted the city and it’s attitude like few before him ever had. At a time when superstars only played in LA, Chicago, Miami and other glamor cities, Garnett lit a fire in Boston with his blue collar, bring your lunchpail to work attitude.
He was an absolute savage on the court too averaging 18.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, while winning Defensive Player of the Year, making First Team All-NBA and of course bringing home the team’s first championship in 22 years.
All of that in his first season! Garnett made five All-Star teams and was First Team All-Defense three times during his Celtics career. If Pierce was the face of the Boston Celtics, Garnett was the heart.
People loved Garnett because he was the definition of selfless and it rubbed off on everyone else. This was the 2004 MVP who came to Boston after eight straight All-Star appearances in Minnesota while averaging 22-24 points per game. He was fine taking a step back with his own production dipping down to 15.7 points per game in Boston all while being the de facto team leader.
Not to mention he was a Hall of Fame shit talker.
Nothing, and I mean nothing, will ever bring me as much joy as watching KG laughing it up every time Gino Time played at the end of blowouts.
Garnett is also the guy that coined phrases like Grit and Balls, Honey Nut Cheerios, and was always an A+ interview.
Congratulations to Kevin Garnett for a well deserved honor and good luck to everyone at that game because it’s going to get a little dusty watching them raise No. 5 up to the rafters.