Boston announced Thursday that they intend to retire Garnett’s No. 5 jersey next season.
“I will always have immense respect and appreciation for ownership, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, my past teammates and Celtic Nation!” said KG in a statement.
The future Hall of Famer was drafted fifth overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1995 and won an NBA title with the C’s in 2008.
“I think [Garnett] was a great teammate,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who coached Garnett in Boston. “I don’t think that gets enough play. He was a phenomenal teammate. He was all about winning. His IQ was incredible. It was off the charts.
“And I’ve often said about him, he’s the greatest superstar role player ever. Like, he was a superstar, but he played his role for the team anyway, somehow. I don’t know why 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. So that was all Garnett.”
On Friday, Garnett, Tim Duncan and the late Kobe Bryant are locks to be named as finalists for the star-studded 2020 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class.
“Kawhi [Leonard] is nowhere near outward like Kevin but there’s a lot of Kevin in him as far as how serious he approaches the game and sees the game and prepares for the game,” Rivers said. “That is very similar. And then [Paul George], just watching him shoot and work reminds you of Ray [Allen] in some ways in that way.”