Photo: Bleacher Report
By: Patrick Whalen
4 years after retiring from the NBA after an amazing 21-year career Kevin Garnett received the news that many of his fans and NBA fans in general expected, that he would be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as apart of the class of 2020. Garnett will be apart of one of the more star-studded classes in the history of the hall as he will be inducted alongside Spurs legend Tim Duncan and the late Lakers legend Kobe Bryant. Between the 3 they have combined for 11 NBA championships, 4 MVPs, 48 All-Star appearances, 39 All NBA selection, 39 All-Defense selections, 5 Finals MVPs, 3 Olympic Gold Medals and a Defensive Player of the Year.
The trio of NBA legends will be joined by WNBA star Tamika Catchings, Baylor Women’s Coach Kim Mulkey, Bentley University Women’s Coach Barbra Stevens, Former Arkansas and Oklahoma State Men’s Coach Eddie Sutton, Former Houston Rockets star and coach Rudy Tomjanovich, and former FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann.
Garnett on his own accounted for 15 of those All-Star appearances, 9 All NBA selections and 12 All-Defense selections. He also won a Gold Medal at the 2000 Olympic Games, the 2003-’04 NBA MVP, the 2007-’08 Defensive Player of the Year and his 1 NBA Championship in 2007-’08 with the Celtics.
Photo: Greenville News
The Big Tickets legendary NBA career started back in 1995-’96 when the Minnesota Timberwolves drafted the big man from Greenville, South Carolina straight out of high school with the 5th pick in the 1995 NBA draft. KG would spend the first 12 seasons of his career in the twin cities making the All-Rookie team in 1995-’96 and 9 All-Star teams during that stretch. He would also win the 2002-’03 All-Star game MVP and in 2003-’04 he won his only league MVP award averaging career bests in points (24.2), rebounds (13.9), and blocks (2.2). That year he also averaged 5 assist and 1.5 steals. He would average 20+ points and 10+ rebounds per game for 9 straight seasons. But despite Garnetts stellar play for more than a decade they did not see much playoff success. The Wolves made the playoffs for 8 straight seasons between 1996-’97 and 2003-’04. But the Wolves would see 7 first-round exits, including 2 sweeps, and only twice would they have home-court advantage in the first round. In 2003-’04 the Timberwolves had the best season in franchise history going 58-24 and finishing atop the west led by the MVP Garnett. It would be the one and only time the Wolves have ever made it past the first round but their cinderella season would end with a loss to the Lakers in 6 games in the western conference finals. The Wolves would miss the playoffs the next 3 seasons and have only made the playoffs once since that 2003-’04 run.
Then in the summer of 2007 on July 31st, the Timberwolves traded their franchise star to the Boston Celtics for Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair, and Ryan Gomes along with 2 first-round picks. This would complete the legendary summer by the Celtics as Garnett joined Celtic legend Paul Pierce and newly acquired Ray Allen to form the Celtics new Big 3.
The trio would enjoy 5 great seasons together that included 4 Eastern Conference Finals appearances, 2 NBA Finals appearances, and the 2007-’08 NBA Title over the Rival Lakers in 6 games to win banner number 17. Over 6 season with Boston Garnett would average 15.7 points and 8.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. Garnett would be elected as an All-Star for 5 of his 6 seasons in Boston and would win the 2007-’08 NBA Defensive Player of the Year. KG’s short time in Boston showed that anything really was possible!
The Celtics would make the playoffs all 6 seasons with the Celtics before they traded him, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, and DJ White to the Brooklyn Nets. KG would spend only a season and a half in Brooklyn where they would make the playoffs in 2013-’14 but would lose in the conference semifinals to the Miami Heat. KG would average 11.7 points and 11.8 rebounds during his time in Brooklyn.
Then on February 19, 2015, the Nets traded The big Ticket back to his original team, the Timberwolves where he would spend the remainder of the 2014-’15 season. Garnett would come back for one more farewell season with the Wolves before retiring after the 2015-’16 season.
Photo: USA Today
Kevin would retire as the all-time leader in Timberwolves history in points, minutes played, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. He also remains the franchises only MVP winner and his 2003-’04 playoff run still remains as the deepest playoff run in the franchise history and features the only 2 playoff series wins in franchise history.
Garnett’s help in winning banner 17 in Boston was not forgotten by the Celtics organization and fans. His energy and toughness embody what Boston is all about which is why the team announced that his number 5 will be raised to the rafters next to Paul Pierce’s 34 and retired during the 2020-’21 season. Congratulations Kevin, one of my ablsoute favorite players to watch growing up. Can’t wait to see you in Springfield.
Now let’s take a look back at the dominance that The Big Ticket showed over his 21 seasons with the top 50 plays of his career.
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