Kevin Garnett has been an integral member of the Celtics since he came to Boston in 2007, and many fans forget he ever played in any other color but green. He joined Paul Pierce and Ray Allen to make the “big three” and helped lead the Celtics to an NBA Championship in 2008.
However, Garnett is getting old, and his recent comment about this year’s All-Star game being his last prompted basketball fans to think about the NBA, and the Celtics, without the power forward. Let’s pinpoint exactly what Boston will miss if KG retires after the season’s end.
Despite being 36 years old and having a whopping 17 years in the NBA under his belt, Garnett still owns the low post game in and game out. For the 2012-13 season, he is averaging 15 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 30.2 minutes of game play.
Moreover, the 6’11" power forward pushed it as hard as he could during the February 10 triple overtime win against Denver. He played for an impressive 47 minutes and grabbed 20 points, 18 rebounds and six assists.
Though he might be intimidating at first to the younger players, Garnett plays big brother to the rookies and allows them to learn from his basketball play.
As detailed by ESPN, rookie big man Jared Sullinger “attributes much of his basketball development to his three older brothers: James and Julian Sullinger, and Kevin Garnett.”
Before Sullinger got sidelined for the season with a back injury, he said of his time working with Garnett: “When you’ve got Kevin Garnett in your ear, I’m learning every day.”
The rookie continued, “It’s like that every day. Kevin is constantly moving his hands, talking, and you just listen and you’re learning everything he sees. As you see what he sees, the game slows down tremendously.”
His “Anything is Possible” scream from the NBA Championship game in 2008 says it all: Kevin Garnett is extremely intense. He not only comes to play physically, but his head is also in every game and he focuses solely on winning for the Celtics when he’s on the court.
As point guard Rajon Rondo said during last year’s NBA playoffs, “Kevin does so many little things. He does so many intangibles. He’s our best communicator. I could go on and on.”
All of these “little things”—his focused stare, his intimidating talk on defense—reveal the intensity with which Garnett approaches each and every matchup. There are even YouTube videos about this unmatched intensity.
Celtics fans might have thought shooting guard Ray Allen was loyal until he signed with the Miami Heat last summer for far less money than the Celtics were offering him.
However, Boston can rest assured that Kevin Garnett is utterly loyal to the team that made possible his first NBA Championship win in 2008.
According to the Boston Herald, Garnett waved off trade rumors by saying, “I bleed green, I’ll die green, that’s what it is.”
His unwillingness to waive his no-trade clause further demonstrates his determination, his need, to remain a Celtic. Despite his 12 seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves early on in his career, Kevin Garnett is a Boston Celtic to the core.
Lee Jenkins of SI.com wrote of the possibility that Kevin Garnett would be traded yesterday before the deadline: “Kevin Garnett trade would rob Celtics of their identity.” The trade deadline has now past and KG is still in green, but what will happen to the Celtics’ identity when he retires?
When Garnett hangs up his jersey, 35-year-old Paul Pierce will undoubtedly follow close behind.
Then, it will be the era of the new Celtics, the Rajon Rondo era, the Avery Bradley era. The Celtics may not lose their identity, but it will surely change. It’s hard to imagine the Boston Celtics without KG, but this will eventually be a reality that Boston fans will have to face.