Over two years after it was first announced, the day finally came as the Celtics Basketball franchise officially retired Kevin Garnett’s jersey No. 5 following Sunday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks.
The 15-time NBA All-Star, one of the catalysts of Boston’s 2007-2008 team that raised the franchise’s 17th championship banner, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021.
KG was in February, at the All Star Weekend festivities honored as a member of the NBA’s 75th anniversary team and written an intimate memoir that is proving to be a national bestseller.
THE C’s MADE THE NIGHT SPECIAL
From the beginning, it was clear that Boston wanted to make the night special for KG and everyone in attendance. Even Ray Allen showed up, seemingly putting an end to his long-time vendetta with his former teammate.
There is also the tribute video, which includes many Celtics players (both former and current) speaking on KG and the influence he has had.
As Garnett rose for cheers during the game, fans couldn’t help but notice him donning a Ukrainian pin, showing his support for the country.
The most intense and emotional part of the whole night, though, was the ceremony itself and all of KG’s former teammates coming together to celebrate his career.
Garnett played for several teams over his career, not just the Celtics. But it was with the Celtics that he became a winner, and in Boston that he found a true home.
STATS DONT LIE
Garnett averaged 15.7 points and 8.3 rebounds, earned five All-Star selections, four All-Defensive Team selections and one All-NBA selection during his time with the Celtics. In 2008, he became the first player in team history to win Defensive Player of the Year.
Garnett joins 23 other Celtics legends whose name or number hangs in the rafters at TD Garden. He first wore No. 21 while playing with the Timberwolves at the start of his career. He switched to No. 5 prior to the 2007-2008 season and sported it during his Celtics tenure. Garnett later swapped numbers again and donned No. 2 following his trade to the Brooklyn Nets in 2013.
He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021 and was honored as a member of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team last month.
Kevin Garnett in the 2007-08 season was just remarkable (stats are per 75):— BMORE (@bmore_bfree) September 9, 2021
• 22.7 points
• 11.2 rebounds
• 4.2 assists
• 1.7 steals
• 1.5 blocks
• 53.9 FG%
• 80.1 FT%
• 58.8 TS% (+4.8 rTS%)
• helmed a HISTORIC Boston defense (-8.6 rDRtg)
Best player? pic.twitter.com/J8bn6IiTPR
FOND MEMORIES AT THE GARDEN
Even long after his glory days with the franchise, he never forgot the love and loyalty the city showed him.
“I heard Larry Bird say one time in his early years in Boston is that the reason why he loved playing in front of the fans in Boston is because you couldn’t fake them,” Garnett said, per MassLive. “You couldn’t fool the fans. They knew when you was playing hard. They knew when you were giving your all. They have a sense of basketball history and they have high basketball IQs. They cared and I never forgot that.”
That 2008 squad is the last time the Celtics won a title. After decades of dominance, prestige, and greatness, KG helped restore Boston basketball. It’s only fitting that he gets rewarded and remembered for it.
Without a doubt, he will continue to support the franchise in this new and exciting era, and he will be right there cheering them on every step of the way.
No. 5 immortalized forever ☘️ pic.twitter.com/TBxcX40dX6— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 13, 2022
THE RECOGNITION NEVER STOPS
In addition to getting his number raised to the rafters, Garnett also received other gifts from the Celtics. He got a replica of the banner of his retired jersey number, framed with authentic parquet flooring from the 2008 title run.
He also received a framed collage that includes iconic photos of himself and an authentic piece of parquet flooring etched with his career accolades.