Celtics

‘It meant everything, man’: Kevin Garnett recalls winning title with Celtics ahead of Hall of Fame induction

Garnett will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame Saturday along with Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Tamika Catchings, and more.

Kevin Garnett celebrates after winning the 2008 NBA Finals. Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Kevin Garnett will reach the mountaintop for his basketball career on Saturday.

The iconic former Celtics forward is set to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the 2020 induction class. With Saturday’s induction ceremony officially closing the book on Garnett’s playing days, there is one moment of his career that stands above all: winning a championship in 2008 with the Celtics.

“It meant everything, man,” Garnett told reporters Friday of his 2008 triumph in Boston. “You come into the NBA wanting to win, and losing is part of it, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept it. Getting with a storied franchise like Boston gave me life, gave me breath and gave me purpose. 

“The players that you’re playing actually made the experience monumental, made it magical. The city was waiting for something big, or something different to happen versus where it was, and when we went, we just never looked back.”

Garnett, who played six seasons in Boston, noticed there was something else different about playing for the Celtics than playing with the Timberwolves and Nets.

“The fan base in Boston was over the top, man,” Garnett said. “People would follow you home, stand outside your gate when you got home. People wanted to pump your gas. The fan level in Boston was just another level. I learned to embrace it.”

When Garnett retired from the NBA in 2016, he left the game as one of the greatest power forwards in league history. He was named an All-Star 15 times in his NBA career and made an All-NBA time nine times. Garnett won an MVP with the Timberwolves in 2004, leading them to the Western Conference Finals that season, their best playoff finish in team history.

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In Boston, Garnett won Defensive Player of the Year in 2008 and of course won a title that same season. He made it back to the NBA Finals in 2010, but lost to the Lakers that time around.

Even with all those accomplishments, Garnett has just one regret.

“My only regret in any of this is that I should’ve came to Boston a little earlier,” Garnett said. “But other than that, it was magical.”

Garnett spent the first 12 seasons of his career in Minnesota, missing the playoffs in his final three seasons. In July 2007, the Celtics acquired Garnett from the Timberwolves in a trade that involved the Celtics giving up five players and two draft picks, the most amount of players and picks traded for one player in NBA history.

Getting inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame isn’t the only honor Garnett will receive for his tremendous career. In 2020, the Celtics announced they will retire Garnett’s jersey No. 5. The jersey retirement ceremony was originally scheduled for this season but was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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