It's been a long-time coming, as future NBA Hall-of-Famer Kevin Garnett will have his No. 5 retired by the Celtics next season.
An announcement was made during the first quarter of the Celtics win over the Clippers Thursday night, via an elaborate video shown on the jumbotron that Garnett's jersey number will hang at the TD Garden amongst the greats that have contributed to the franchise's storied history.
Following the surprising video, that got Celtics fans to respond with a standing ovation, there was statement made by Garnett that read the following:
"I'm honored and thankful to have my number retired with the Celtics," it read. "I will always have immense respect and appreciation for ownership, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, my past teammates and Celtics Nation!"Garnett spend six years in Boston (2007-2013) where he helped bring the Celtics their 17th championship in 2008 after a 22-year drought and was a crucial part of the team's run to Game 7 of the NBA Finals in 2010.
In 396 appearances, Garnett averaged 15.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.0 blocks in 30.9 minutes per game. He was an All-Star five out of the six seasons in Boston and came away with All-NBA first team honors in 2008. "The Big Ticket" also became the only Celtic to win NBA Defensive Player of the Year during the championship season, and was named to four All-NBA defensive teams.
"We knew in 2008 we'd be retiring his number," Celtics Co-Owner Wyc Grousbeck told NBC Sports Boston. "He came in here and, I won't say singlehandedly because it was a team effort, but he changed everything the minute he stepped on the court. He provided energy and commitment and drive and passion like no one I've ever seen in 17 years." [Celtics.com]Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge couldn't agree more with team's announcement and what Garnett has meant to the franchise.
"Kevin gave everything he had to the Celtics in every practice, in every game," said Danny Ainge. "And his unique blend of energy, intelligence, and talent brought out the best in his teammates and coaches." [Celtics.com]Former Celtics and current Clippers' coach Doc Rivers chimed in on the Garnett praise once he learned of the good news and summed up the importance of the superstar during his time in Boston.
"He changed the culture of this franchise. He really did," Rivers said. "We needed a guy like that to come to the franchise, and he did that. And it's still here. It hasn't left since. That was all Garnett." [NBC Sports Boston]Garnett will join Ed Macauley and the late Reggie Lewis as the only players in Celtics history to have their numbers retired by the origination and only played six seasons in Boston.
It's worth noting that Celtics for now are the first to plan a retirement ceremony of Kevin Garnett's number, as the Minnesota Timberwolves have yet to do so since playing his last NBA game in 2016.
"I've often said about him, he's the greatest superstar role player ever," Rivers said of Garnett. "He was a superstar, but he played his role for the team anyway, somehow. I don't know how he did that, but he did it." [NBC Sports Boston]As No.5 will finally hang from Garden rafters, where it rightfully belongs, we here on Causeway Street want to congratulate Kevin Garnett for an honor well-deserved and for his six memorable years in Boston that will forever be talked about.
Picture used courtesy of NBA.com