Celtics to retire Kevin Garnett's No. 5 jersey
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Celtics to retire Kevin Garnett’s No. 5 jersey

By Tommy Fradenburg

Contributing Writer for Telegraph Local | See @tommyfradenburg

In 2007 the Boston Celtics brought in Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to join Ray Allen, forming a NBA championship squad along with the first modern big three. 12 years later, Kevin Garnett’s number five will join Paul Pierce’s in the rafters of the Boston Garden next season.

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The Celtics made the announcement with a video during the first quarter of Thursday’s game against the L.A. Clippers; and the crowd received the news with a standing ovation.

“I’m honored and thankful to have my number retired with the Celtics,” Garnett said in a statement. “I will always have immense respect and appreciation for ownership, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, my past teammates, and Celtic Nation!”

The Celtics made the announcement with former coach Doc Rivers in the building as head coach of the Clippers. Focused on the game, he said he missed the news during the game. 

“That’s really cool. I wish somebody would’ve told me,” Rivers said, adding his desire to be in attendance schedule permitting.

Career history

The future Hall of Famer spent just six of his 22 seasons in Boston, but was a five-time All Star and a key cog in the 2008 NBA title team.

Garnett was drafted in 1995 by the Minnesota Timberwolves directly from high school. Despite being (at the time) the youngest player in NBA history at 19 years old, Garnett started 43 games for the Timberwolves. In just under 29 minutes per game, Garnett averaged 10 points and six rebounds on the road to the All-Rookie team. In 2003-04 he won league MVP and carried the team to its only Western Conference Finals appearance, eventually losing 4-2 to the Los Angeles Lakers.

After 12 years with Minnesota, Garnett left as the franchise leader in seven major statistical categories; joining only Michael Jordan in that club. But at the age of 31, the Celtics sent five players, two draft picks and cash considerations to bring the All-Pro Boston. 

There he captured his elusive NBA title in 2008, getting revenge on Kobe Bryant and the Lakers 4-2. Paul Pierce won Finals MVP honors, but Garnett did his part. He poured in 18 points per game and 13 rebounds and was the game leader in rebounds five of six games (sharing the distinction with Pau Gasol in game three). In the celebrations, he also gave us this gem of a video.

He played another five years in Boston but the team wasn’t able to lead their super team to another championship. In 2013, the Celtics traded Garnett and Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets for five players and three first round picks. The move marked the end of an era in Boston, but also the decline of Garnett’s career.

Plagued by age and injuries, he played just 96 games over two seasons in Brooklyn before returning to Minnesota in to retire a Timberwolf at the age of 39,

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Over his 22-year career Garnett averaged 17.8 points and 10 boards per game. He was voted to 15 All Star games, made the NBA All-Defense team 12 times All-NBA nine times. 

His will be the 24th number retired by the Celtics franchise.

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