Between KG's defensive skills and his trademark tendency of grabbing shots that are lofted up after play has stopped, he'll be saving them from a lot of wear and tear they would have otherwise been subjected to if he'd retired. And the new Brooklyn Nets power forward would have pulled the plug on his NBA career if he hadn't been traded along with Pierce.
Moderator: Can you say if the transaction object is only you, no Pierce, you would choose to reject it?
Garnett: I would refuse, if I was traded away, I would choose to retire, without a doubt, I would choose a direct retired.
The wording is a little funky here, but that's what happens when English is translated into Chinese and then back into English without the help of someone who's fluent in both languages. The message should still be quite clear.
Garnett would have retired if he had been traded to the Nets without Pierce. That's how badly he wanted to continue playing with his longtime friend and teammate.
This isn't a friendship that blossomed once they started playing together in Beantown. Far from it. In an interview with Sean Deveney of Sporting News, Garnett revealed that he and Pierce used to hang out as teenagers:
We were 13, 14 years old, tearing up his mom's living room, breaking vases, almost getting ass-whooped. First time I ever experienced Crenshaw on a Sunday—for you all that don't know what Crenshaw on a Sunday is, Crenshaw on a Sunday is a big deal—Crenshaw on a Sunday taking me out being 15, 16 years old.
The friendship continued well after their teenage years.
Pierce's presence on the Boston Celtics roster drew KG into the fold after his Minnesota Timberwolves tenure had come to a close. They continued to thrive next to one another, winning a championship and making plenty of stellar postseason runs. Now they're hoping to do the same—just in a different uniform.
Imagining an NBA without Garnett is just unfathomable, especially after the retirements of both Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady, ones that left every '90s kid feeling a little heartbroken. We need someone to make fun of Craig Sager's suits, after all.