Timberwolves PF Kevin Garnett announces that he will not be returning for the NBA 2016/2017 season
If the last NBA season taught us anything, it’s that the game is full of surprises. Who would’ve expected the only team to ever reach seventy-three wins would lose out on a title? Who would’ve said that we’d see the first ever unanimous MVP in Stephen Curry? Who would’ve expected Kyrie Irving to pull off one of the most clutch shots, in game seven of the NBA finals, in the face of the reigning two-time MVP? No one would’ve expected these things, but the one thing people do expect and dread is the day a great player hangs up his shoes for good. That player, and the third legend that we’ve seen retire this year is none other than Kevin “The Big Ticket” Garnett.
On Sept. 23, KG officially announced that he would not go into the next season via Instagram. In the video that he posted on his account, he said: “I’m just thankful man, I cannot put that into words, I’m just thankful. Thankful for the people and the love because I never expected people to love me like this”. He went on to say, “I don’t expect this to be easy, but stay tuned.” The multiple tributes poured in from current players such as LeBron James and Karl-Anthony Towns, as well as other celebrities like Drake and Didier Drogba. Needless to say, KG will be missed.
KG was drafted as the fifth overall pick in the 1995 draft. He went to the Minnesota Timberwolves and immediately made an impact on the Wolves, as he led the team to eight playoff appearances. After that, he left to the Boston Celtics in 2007, where he teamed up with Paul Pierce and won an NBA championship. The duo moved together to the Brooklyn Nets, and later split up as KG went back home to Minnesota and Pierce went to the Washington Wizards for a season before joining the L.A Clippers. When KG went back, the Timberwolves fans celebrated his coming back home, and for him to reciprocate the joy, KG bought tickets for thousands of fans for his first home game back.
KG is known to be one of the last players who knows a thing or two about how the game is meant to be played, being that before his retirement, he had played twenty-one seasons in the league, had faced some of the greatest players to ever step on the court and has acquired a lot of accomplishments in his NBA Career. KG is a one-time NBA champion (2008), one-time NBA Most Valuable Player (2004), he has been an NBA All-Star 15 times and he has an All-Star game MVP (2003) to his name. In addition, he has made one of the All-NBA teams nine times, and he has made an All-Defensive team 12 times in his career. He also made the All-Rookie second team in (1996) and is the Minnesota Timberwolves all-time leading scorer. Apart from these achievements, KG to the players was a force to reckon with. He was difficult to defend and equally difficult to go up against. He’s also known for his trash talk and his way of playing mind games with his opponents.
Apart from competing against players, to players he has played with, he’s known to be a great teammate and mentor to the people around him. KG is definitely someone you’d want in your corner if a fight breaks out. To other young players, he’s someone to look up to and learn from. This was evident in this last 2015-16 season when the Timberwolves drafted Karl-Anthony Towns first overall. Towns, or “The Big Kat” as he’s referred to as, put up staggering numbers this season under the mentorship of KG, and as a result of great apprenticeship and sheer talent from Towns, the Big Kat nipped the Rookie of the year award. KG leaves that team with a bright future, in young players such as Towns, Andrew Wiggins and newly drafted guard, Kris Dunn.
With KG punching out, we cannot help but enjoy the great memories that he leaves us with. We can definitely look forward, to seeing him inducted into the NBA hall of fame along side names like Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant. Stories will be told of him in the future and his title can never be forgotten. As the great Kobe “Black Mamba” Bryant once said, “friends come and go, but banners hang forever.”