Fans will no longer be able to witness a player in a No. 5 Boston Celtics jersey. The franchise announced its decision on Thursday to retire the jersey of Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame nominee Kevin Garnett.
Garnett started his NBA career in 1995 with Minnesota Timberwolves. He became the first player to be drafted directly out of high school after 20 years. His stint with the Celtics began in 2007 after a blockbuster trade move.
In his first season with the Celtics, Garnett helped the team win the Championship and finished third in the MVP race. He also won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award that year.
“From the moment he arrived in the summer of 2007, Kevin changed everything for us,” Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said as per an NBA press release. “His complete commitment to winning was a decisive factor in our 2008 championship. He will always be one of my very favorite Celtics.”
“KG arrived in Boston as a quintessential Celtic who embraced the ‘team-first’ ethic and brought a competitive fire,” said Steve Pagliuca, Celtics Co-Owner. “We will be forever grateful for his extraordinary contribution to bringing the 17th championship banner to Boston, and we will always remember him as a leader on and off the court. He was the true embodiment of Celtics pride.”
Celtics made the announcement during Thursday night’s game between Boston and Los Angeles Clippers at the TD Garden. They played a surprise video in the arena during the first quarter of the game of Kevin Garnett’s No. 5 jersey joining the franchise’s retired jersey numbers.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers had coached Garnett’s Celtics for six years between 2007 and 2013. The duo also brought the Championship to Boston in 2008.
“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.
“He changed the culture of this franchise. He really did. 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.”