Thursday night’s Celtics-Clippers game featured a surprise announcement: Retired forward Kevin Garnett’s No. 5 jersey will be headed to the rafters next season.
During the first media timeout, the center-court video board abruptly showed the SMPTE color bars for a moment before the screen fritzed with imagery of Garnett. The arena briefly went dark and eventually cut to a collection of moments from Garnett’s six-season tenure in Boston. The short, albeit enthralling clip concluded with Garnett’s No. 5, which will fill the empty spot next to Paul Pierce’s No. 34.
The announcement received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd.
“I’m honored and thankful to have my number retired with the Celtics,” Garnett said in a statement. “I will always have immense respect and appreciation for ownership, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, my past teammates, and Celtic Nation!”
Added president of basketball operations Danny Ainge: “Kevin gave everything he had to the Celtics in every practice, in every game, and his unique blend of energy, intelligence, and talent brought out the best in his teammates and coaches.”
Despite the flashiness of the announcement, Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he missed the news. Upon being informed, he called the honor “absolutely deserved.”
“Oh, wow, that’s awesome,” Rivers said. “That’s really cool. I wish somebody would’ve told me.”
Rivers, who coached Garnett throughout his time in Boston, said he hopes to attend, schedules permitting.
Garnett will be the 24th member of the organization to have his number retired.
With a surprise video, the Celtics announced they will retire Kevin Garnett’s No. 5 jersey next season. pic.twitter.com/vqpJwrAbXs
— Nicole Yang (@nicolecyang) February 14, 2020