Monday, January 27th, 2014 at 9:00 am  |  28 responses

Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce Return Home to Boston (VIDEO)


by Marcel Mutoni @ marcel_mutoni

It was an emotional trip back to Beantown for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

And even tough Garnett made the game-sealing defensive play in the Brooklyn Nets’ 85-79 win, Celtics fans showed KG and The Truth nothing but love.

Both Garnett and Pierce found the experience completely overwhelming.

Per the Boston Herald:

“I was telling Kevin and everybody this was the toughest game I ever had to play — tougher than any championship game, any Game 7,” Pierce said. “This game was really hard to just focus, concentrate on what was at hand. At the end of the day, we had a game to play. But it was hard to really focus. I saw so many friends, so many people I’ve known for years.”

Pierce looked to the back room, spotted Cedric Maxwell, smiled and called him ugly. Then he added, “It was just hard to get into a routine. You have a routine when you come to get ready for a game, and I just never settled in (he was 2-for-10 on the way to six points). You just thought about the times, the friendships, the relationships. We were loved the whole game. You look up and see so many Kevin jerseys, my jerseys. Every second you’re on the bench, every moment you’re on the floor, people are calling your name. It was very difficult to focus today. I’m happy we got it over with and we can go back to playing basketball right now.”

“This was over the top. The only thing that comes to mind is unbelievable,” he said. “I didn’t expect anything like that for myself. It shows the type of organization this is. I couldn’t put it into words. Paul and I were joking before the game about who was going to tear up first, and I had lumps in my throat. I tried to focus as much as I could on the game, but this was over the top. I couldn’t put that into words.” [...] “By far the hardest day that I’ve ever had to focus on something,” he said. “Paul will always love the city of Boston, and I feel the same way. The New Englanders and everyone who ever supported me here, and was nice to my family — obviously they didn’t have to be, but I want to say thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.”

In the end, the final score was inconsequential. Much like when Doc Rivers returned for the first time, Sunday night was about Celtics fans seeing their departed heroes and expressing their appreciation.

Ultimately, it was about saying goodbye.

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  • spit hot fiyah
  • Martha Walker


    ✯✯✯✯✯ ✯✯✯ ✯လ✯✯ ✯✯✯ထ✯ ✯✯✯✯I’m happy we got it over with and we can go back to playing basketball right now.

  • Daniel Noel

    great night in Boston, seeing 2 hall of famers return to the Garden. Question for everyone regarding KG; who gets the privilege of retiring his jersey? Minnesota or Boston? KG’s career started there and blossom to be one of the greatest power forwards. However, he did win a ring in Boston.

  • Dfrance

    They can both retire his number and I think they both will when he finally hangs it up.

  • JML-G

    both will retire his number, but he will choose Celtics as his team when conducted into HoF…

    he even said numerous times he wishes he’d left TWolves sooner and was one of the players who said Lebron should leave Cleveland, so.

  • steve

    No love for ex-Celtic Jason Terry? He looked bummed out in the vid, lol.

  • The Mauve Avenger

    Boston fans being classy? I’m proud of them.

  • AndyK415

    The Timberwolves better retire his number first. I know he will probably pick Boston for the HOF, but he was our best player ever and I can’t wait to go to the ceremony when it happens in MN.

  • Shifty

    Those tribute videos for them gave me goose bumps

  • Ugh

    “Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are not walking through that – oh, s&#$.”

  • ATL dynamite

    call me a hater, but ray ray never received the same treatment coming back to boston. on one hand it’s sweet to see how well both PP and KG were received last night, on the other ray ray’s case showed how blind folded and illogical the fans are.

  • ATL dynamite

    I really doubt if a prestigious franchise like Boston would ‘surely’ retire KG’s jersey, having only stayed a few years there and won one single banner. PP is more of a lock though.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    I mean, KG is a pretty prestigious player himself tho–a lock for the HOF and someone who won them a chip. IMO it’s almost guaranteed they’ll retire his jersey.

  • Fitzy

    are you kidding me man? I was at that game and he got his own video tribute and standing ovation. After that he was booed the whole night.

  • Fitzy

    they also flashed the camera at two blank jersey patches in the rafters immediately following KGs video.

  • SolsticeMC

    Wow….. This is just so sad…

  • Dfrance

    He was the final piece that returned Boston to glory, the organization and fan base love him like he played his whole career there. I’d be suprised if they didn’t retire it.

  • Dfrance

    FWIW, you don’t go into the basketball hall of fame with a team like you do in football and baseball. Those HOFs are for the professional leagues themselves, while the basketball hall of fame is for the sport of basketball as a whole.

  • Sérgio

    He deverses to have his jersey retired in both of these cities.

  • Lloyd

    Leaving the team when it was still able to compete for their rivals, for less money is not the same as asking to be traded off a team that has no chance for anything just to have a desperation shot at a chip.

  • ATL dynamite

    I totally understand their craze for having KG’s name up on the rafters. I would love it if it happens too. But my problem is, should they?

    I would choose to encounter the question from an alternative perspective. If KG’s number gets retired, should Rondo’s number be retired also if ever his career ends now? Rondo’s had his full career in Boston, arrived one year before KG and Ray Ray, has been the emblem of Boston’s grit and defensive system with KG during their stint, carrying the whole team in the playoffs with dazzling statistical averages (esp in 2009 when KG was out with an injury), and like KG he is heavily loved by the fan base.

    The only things that clearly puts KG’s case over this hypothetical Rondo situation is only that he’s in his later stage of his career and the way he’s burning his last fuel, or also the love KG gets from the fans is more than Rondo’s, which can never be quantified and compared. My take is that Rondo needs to do way more to have his jersey retired IN BOSTON, and KG’s case is not really that much of a clear cut. I know very well this comparison of Rondo and KG is somehow misplaced but it reminds us how one should be qualified to have their jerseys retired, while not too hugely dependent on his fan base support.

    I’m only a basketball fan who respects Celtics’ history. I have a weird feeling that people are so crazed at having KG and PP’s jerseys retired asap was largely a result of their large gap of ‘dark age’ in between the old and new Big 3 eras, having waiting so long and eagerly for that one person to be their franchise player of pride. It’s not like KG’s days hasn’t been impressive throughout, but up from the Celtics’ chamber of HOFers who won them multiple championships, to some of the most recents like Reggie Lewis who passed away in a practice for the Celtics, there are some little things that KG’s case is still missing. But like most of you said, he would most probably have his jersey retired anyway… I’m just hoping that the recognition of KG’s effort won’t undermine the legacy of the Celtics’ supreme club as a whole.

  • ATL dynamite

    Maybe it’s just me then, I just don’t get how KG and PP could come back in such a heroic fashion, having fans cheering about them throughout the game, while all Ray got was Booos (I watched Ray’s return game on league pass only) while I don’t quite get what he got boos for. To me each of the Big 3s (+ Rondo) have done equally much to the franchise, the ways Ray and PP+KG left the Celtics were all mature ‘business considerations’ for their own and also for the franchise, yet the feedbacks for each side have been so divergent. To this days I still hear how Ray gets called by Boston fans a traitor, and I just want to do him some justice.

  • ATL dynamite

    The Celtics has a history of mistreating Ray, hence leading him to leave Boston. If that trade of Ray for OJ Mayo would have been completed you wouldn’t even be given a chance to call him a player ‘who left his boys and jumped on the Miami Bandwagon’.
    Also, it’s really not like once Ray was gone Boston would immediately become a team with ‘no chance for anything’, hence blaming all on Ray individually. On a side note I really don’t get how leaving the team via free agency is so much worse than asking to be traded off a team, when the aims behind for both are clearly the same that they wanted to leave and play for a contender. Both are equally fine to me.

  • Dfrance

    In my opinion, most of the C’s fans beef with Ray is that he jumped on Miami’s bandwagon, immediately after they just eliminated the C’s from the playoffs and had been their chief playoff rival the past few seasons. Had he left to play out his career with the Bucks or Seattle or any other team but the Heat(and maybe LA), he would have gotten a much warmer welcome.

    Again, when he left, they still had Doc, Rondo was healthy, Bradley was coming into his own. There was a totally different set of circumstances surrounding KG and PP leaving.

    Ray was well within his rights to ring chase tho, and he won another one, so I can’t fault him at all. I just don’t see the two scenarios as comparable.

  • Dfrance

    I get what you’re saying, but I don’t think adding KGs number to the rafter would undermine the prestige of the rest of the retired numbers. Everyone that has a number in the rafters is not a HOF player. Reggie Lewis was done more for sentimental reasons. Don Nelson was a pretty average player with Boston and his number is retired. KG is just as deserving to me. Yes it was only 1 ring, but it ended a long drought and set the tone for them to be contenders every year. The Cs had become pretty irrelevant in the years prior to his arrival.

  • Lloyd

    Even Paul Pierce was on the trade block if the right deal came along for Danny Ainge. That’s front office business that isn’t influenced by teammates or fans. The fact that he chose to leave his teammates and the Celtics fan base for his beef with Danny Ainge/Doc Rivers is what led KG to forget Ray’s phone number and the fans to boo him. He definitely did what was best for himself, but that wasn’t what was best for his Celtic brethren and the city of Boston.

    For the rest, I think Dfrance summed it up nicely. The only similarities are they were once Celtics and now they aren’t.

  • Fitzy

    I’m not from Boston so I don’t have a real bostonian perspective on this, however I’ve been a die hard Bostonian sports fan since 2008 (my dad took me to my first NBA game at the garden, the fans made me love the celtics) however I’ve been going to Boston multiple times a year from Canada since I was in grade 6 (4th year uni now). Bostonians love their sports, they’ll love you like a brother. They know all those pro athletes worked their asses off, and they’ll cheer their ass off for you and some will even cry. The rivalry’s in Boston are fierce. If you leave that’s one thing, if you leave for one of your biggest rivalries in Miami, that’s like going to the yankees. You go to the Yankees you don’t get love in Boston. But you could say woah woah woah fitzy, the celtics rivals are the lakers. This is accurate, however Lebron was always talking about how he needed to get by the celtics, and this is very much so true. So when Lebron went to Miami he made a new rivalry out of it. In Boston we hate our rivals and I say we because I love Boston, I plan on living there at some point in my life. Ray Allen is a traitor and thats just the way it is in Boston. I understand why he left, for certain. I also knew he was gone after game 7 the same way I knew Lebron was gone. Does it make me right to call him a traitor, probably not, but that’s what he is, to me.

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