No player has meant more to the Minnesota Timberwolves franchise than Kevin Garnett. The Big Ticket spent the better part of 14 seasons with the T-Wolves, bringing the franchise a run of success that has never been matched. But you won’t find KG’s #21 hanging from the rafters of Target Center.
The Timberwolves still haven’t retired Garnett’s jersey despite his overwhelming standing as the best player in franchise history. When recently asked why that was the case, KG threw shade at his former organization.
Kevin Garnett has previously objected to the Timberwolves retiring his jersey
Although Garnett called Minnesota home for close to 15 years, his post-career association with the franchise has been frosty. The main reason stems from Garnett’s damaged relationship with former Wolves owner Glen Taylor.
Garnett had problems with Taylor dating back to his playing days. In 2007, the owner accused his superstar of faking an injury as an excuse to sit out the remaining few games of the season. In 2015, when KG returned to Minnesota, Taylor promised Garnett a spot within the ownership group. However, the billionaire reneged on that promise following the death of longtime head coach Flip Saunders.
In 2020, KG told The Athletic that despite his love for the fans, he did not want his jersey retired as long as Taylor was in charge.
“Glen knows where I’m at, I’m not entertaining it,” Garnett said. “First of all, it’s not genuine. Two, he’s getting pressure from a lot of fans and, I guess, the community there. Glen and I had an understanding before Flip died, and when Flip died, that understanding went with Flip. For that, I won’t forgive Glen.”
“I’ll always have a special place for the city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota in my heart. But I don’t do business with snakes,” KG added. “I try not to do business with openly snakes or people who are snake-like.”
New T-Wolves ownership hasn’t approached Garnett
The Timberwolves entered a new era in franchise history this summer when Taylor sold the team to an ownership group headlined by Marc Lore and former MLB superstar Alex Rodriguez for $1.5 billion. Coming up just short was Garnett, who headlined another group attempting to buy the franchise.
The Big Ticket is currently scheduled to have his jersey retired this season … by the Boston Celtics. The C’s will hang Garnett’s #5 in the rafters after his six successful seasons in Boston. When asked on Jimmy Kimmel Live why the Timberwolves had yet to make a move, KG’s answer was telling.
“Well if you know anything about the Boston Celtics, they’re known for their championships and the way they do things, “Garnett said. “They do things in a championship way. And that’s what I’m gonna say.”
“I love the city of Minneapolis and I’m not here to crap on anything,” Garnett continued. “Someone has a franchise, and the way they want to run the franchise is up to them.”
Kimmel also mentioned how the T-Wolves had new owners now, with Garnett jokingly responding, “I don’t know, I haven’t kept up with that.”
The Minnesota Timberwolves need to work things out with Garnett
Since their inaugural season in 1989-90, all the Timberwolves have to show for their franchise are nine playoff appearances and two series wins. Garnett is largely responsible for all but one trip to the postseason. If he was never a part of the team, where would they be as a whole?
KG is the franchise leader in games, points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. He won an MVP in 2003-04, the year, Minnesota advanced to its first and only Western Conference Final. Additionally, he was recently named to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team.
Lore and A-Rod have a chance to do right by the franchise’s greatest player. Sure, it might be awkward given KG’s attempts to buy the team. And it’s possible the Hall of Famer will continue to decline. But at the very least, they should engage him in conversation and ask how they can smooth this fractured relationship.
The T-Wolves and their fans deserve to have Garnett’s number hanging from the rafters. The fact the Celtics are beating them to the punch is a crying shame.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference.