Sports Q

Sports Q: Should the Celtics retire Kevin Garnett’s number?

Kevin Garnett meant more to Boston than just his accolades.

The Celtics will retire Kevin Garnett's No. 5 next season. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff(sports)

Welcome to’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through TwitterFacebook, and email. He’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation. 

Seems like a stretch to retire Kevin Garnett’s number. One title in just six years. – Mike K.

Disagree wholeheartedly. Yeah, it was just six years. In those six years, he was a five-time All-Star, made four All-Defensive teams, and won the 2008 defensive player of the year award. On those accomplishments alone, his No. 5 goes in the rafters.

But he meant so much more than that. Garnett was the most unselfish superstar I’ve ever seen when it came to getting his own shots, and that allowed Ray Allen and especially Paul Pierce to be themselves and not have to sacrifice much when that new Big Three was united.

Garnett was the defensive fulcrum of that ferocious 2008 Celtics championship team, the one that ended a 22-season championship drought between banner Nos. 16 and 17. He was an exceptional team-first leader that not only bought into Celtics lore, but helped restore it. The Celtics were miserable the year before he got here, winning 24 games.

Garnett may have spent just six seasons here – tied with the late Reggie Lewis for the fewest of any Celtic whose number is or will be retired – but his impact in those seasons can’t be exaggerated.

Even his departure had a positive effect. He didn’t want to go when the Celtics dealt him, Pierce, and assorted other stuff to the Nets for a stack of draft picks before the 2013 season. But he did, in part because he knew it was the best thing for the franchise.

That deal is the reason the Celtics have Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and a whole lot of hope today.


Yes, the Celtics are right in raising KG’s number to the rafters.

Plus, I will finally be able to justify my appreciation of Ron Mercer by telling people his number is retired by the Celtics.

But what does everyone else think? Should the Celtics be retiring KG’s number? I’ll hear you in the comments.

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