Boston Celtics

Garnett didn't think he was worthy of having number retired by Celtics

Teammate Paul Pierce quickly let KG know how worthy he really was.

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Kevin Garnett saw his Boston Celtics legacy cemented in March 2022 when the organization raised his No. 5 to the rafters, not far from the 2008 banner he and the rest of his team raised after winning the franchise's 17th title.

Despite also being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020, Garnett couldn't believe he was worthy of having his number retired in Boston, considering the greats that came before him.

"I didn't think that I had the body of work, if I'm being honest," Garnett said on his podcast, KG Certified. "With all the greats that are on there, when you look up and see all the guys that are on those banners -- they have an incredible body of work within the Celtics organization."

Twenty-two other numbers -- and one name -- sit in the rafters alongside Garnett's No. 5, with each defining what it means to be a Celtic. Garnett's time in Boston may have been short -- only six seasons -- but the big man was the epitome of Celtics basketball with unmatched heart, emotion, grit, and determination.

Garnett secured mountains of accolades during his tenure in Boston, including a Defensive Player of the Year nod, five All-Star appearances, and most importantly an NBA championship. The 21-year veteran is exactly the kind of player Boston honors in the rafters, and former teammate Paul Pierce knows it.

"Lord, you got the body of work," Pierce told Garnett. "Shaq (Shaquille O'Neal) got his retired after only four years [with the Orlando Magic], he didn't even win a championship."

Garnett reluctantly agreed but added that O'Neal's impact in Orlando was so great by helping a new franchise become noticed after drafting the eventual four-time champion within the first five years of its creation.

"That's why your impact in Boston -- changing the culture, brining that presence -- it was a different glow in that building when you got there," Pierce added. "Lord, I'm telling you, there's people that did less."

Garnett took to X on Wednesday afternoon and thanked the organization and fans for being behind him.

"If I’m being honest, I didn’t think I had the body of work to have my jersey retired by the Boston Celtics," he wrote. "With all those greats up in the rafters, it seemed like an impossible task. But hearing what @PaulPierce34 is saying and how the organization and fans were behind me. I guess it was well deserved."

Now more than 10 years since Garnett last suited up for Boston, the Celtics continue to reap the benefits from the Hall of Famer -- both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were selected with draft picks that the Celtics received from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Garnett.

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