Kevin Garnett is hands down the best player in Timberwolves franchise history. It's not close, and it begs the question: Why are the Boston Celtics about to retire Garnett's jersey number when Minnesota still hasn't done so?
The Celtics announced Thursday that Garnett's No. 5 will be retired next season, joining 23 basketball greats to have their numbers retired in Boston. KG wore No. 21 in Minnesota and is the franchise's all-time leader in pretty much every category, including points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals and minutes, yet his number is not in the rafters next to Malik Sealey's No. 2 and Lindsay Whalen's No. 13.
“I’m honored and thankful to have my number retired with the Celtics,” said Garnett in a statement. “I will always have immense respect and appreciation for ownership, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, my past teammates and Celtic Nation!”
Garnett was traded to the Celtics in the summer of 2007 and immediately led them to the NBA championship, being named All-NBA and winning the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. He was an All-Star in five of six seasons with the Celtics and named to four All-NBA defensive teams.
After six seasons in Boston, Garnett returned to Minnesota for one last hurrah in 2016. Four years later and Minnesota still hasn't given the jersey retirement to the best player in franchise history.
It took the Lynx, who are owned by the same guy, Glen Taylor, just one year to retire Whalen's jersey number, and the Twins waited only one year to retire Joe Mauer's number after his career came to a close in 2018.
Is it beef between Garnett and Taylor that is keeping his iconic 21 from being placed among Minnesota greats, which also includes former Wolves head coach Flip Saunders?
In 2017, Garnett told the Associated Press that "obviously me and Glen (Taylor) don't see eye-to-eye on a lot of things and that's how it's going to be."
If that's the case, it's embarrassing for one for a franchise that continues to be one of the biggest losers in NBA history. In fact, in 31 years as a franchise, the team has gone to the playoffs just once without Garnett.
Now the Celtics get to relish in Garnett's shorter history in Boston than the Wolves do in Garnett's 12 years in Minnesota. It's a sad reality for fans, most of whom put Garnett among the greats in Minnesota sports history.