Kevin Garnett May Have A Surprise Guest at His Boston Celtics Jersey Retirement Ceremony
Kevin Garnett had plenty of big days during his 21-year NBA career. He’s got another one coming up Sunday. The Boston Celtics are sending Garnett’s jersey to the rafters when the Celtics host the Dallas Mavericks in a Sunday matinee.
The ceremony was supposed to take place a year ago, but capacity was limited during the pandemic. It should be a star-studded event, and one special guest was recently invited.
Kevin Garnett won an NBA title in his first year with the Boston Celtics
The Celtics acquired Garnett in a blockbuster deal in July 2007. The previous year, the Celtics won 24 games, and they hadn’t made the playoffs the last two seasons. Boston shelled out five players and two first-round draft picks in exchange for Garnett. Garnett played the first 12 years of his Hall of Fame career with the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he was a 10-time All-Star.
The Celtics also brought in Ray Allen prior to the 2007-08 season to team with Garnett and Paul Pierce. The trio was Boston’s first legitimate Big Three since Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish helped guide the Celtics to three championships in the 1980s.
With Garnett, Allen, and Pierce leading the way, Boston improved its win total by 42 games, finishing 66-16. The Celtics knocked off the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals in six games. Garnett was named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year in his first season in Boston.
Two years later, the Celtics were back in the Finals. This time, the Lakers got their revenge, outlasting the Celtics in seven games.
Kevin Garnett having his jersey retired by the Boston Celtics on Sunday
Garnett played six seasons with the Celtics, with Boston making the playoffs each season. In those six seasons, the 6-foot-11 Garnett averaged 15.7 points ad 8.3 rebounds. His best season was that first season, as he racked up 18.8 points and 9.2 rebounds. He had come to Boston after leading the league in rebounding the previous four seasons.
Although he had individual success with the Wolves, Garnett rarely experienced winning. As soon as he hit Boston, he became a winner, prompting him to say he wished he had made the move earlier in his career.
“If I could actually go back and change anything, I would’ve left Minnesota a little earlier, knowing that the management wasn’t as committed as I was,” Garnett told Shams Charania of The Athletic in April 2020. “Or wasn’t committed at all.
“I probably would’ve went to Boston or changed the situation earlier. I would’ve been a little younger and that means less wear and tear on the body. Teaming up with Paul (Pierce), I should’ve done that earlier. Who knows — I’m probably sitting here with another ring or two. But, yeah.”
Garnett, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021, will be honored with his own ceremony in Boston on Sunday. His No. 5 jersey will hit the rafters, joining other Celtics icons such as Bird and Bill Russell.
Ray Allen has been invited to the ceremony
Garnett and Pierce were traded to the Brooklyn Nets as the Celtics decided they needed to rebuild their roster. The two were traded after Allen bolted town in 2012, rejecting a Celtics offer and accepting a deal from Boston’s rival, the Miami Heat.
Allen’s departure bothered many Celtics players, including Garnett, Pierce, and Rajon Rondo. They felt Boston had another chance for a return trip to the NBA Finals, but that opportunity was diminished when Allen signed with the Heat. Miami won the championship in Allen’s first year with the team.
Allen’s decision led to an ugly breakup with his former teammates that still lingers.
According to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe, the Celtics are hoping to mend those fences and get that ’08 championship team back together. The team has invited Allen to the ceremony.
If Allen accepts the invite and attends, it’s a huge step in the right direction for making things right again with that special group.