Seeing the five-year run of Boston's big three go down in flames in the last eight minutes of a hard-fought Game 7 was surreal. Maybe the biggest reason why was because they'd gotten that far against a determined Miami Heat squad to begin with. Let there be no doubt, the aging Boston Celtics weren't supposed to be on the verge of claiming a fourth game in a series against Lebron James and company. Yet there they were, despite the return of Chris Bosh, and fans owed much of the credit to Kevin Garnett.
The Celtics got to that final, critical frame by playing like a team instead of a group of ego-driven individuals. Not exactly common when it comes to elite contenders in the NBA. Again, much of the credit goes to Kevin Garnett. It's telling that Paul Pierce had plenty to say about KG's leadership off the court once the questions started coming after the game. "When Kevin first got here, he really changed the culture of everything we did around here," Pierce said, "from the practice habits...to the discipline...he made everybody accountable..."
Most NBA observers have taken it for granted that Garnett won't be wearing green and white next year, if he's wearing any jersey at all. Kevin Garnett's three-year contract has run its course, and he would be up for grabs in free agency. Not long after the Cs walked out of that locker room in Miami, rumors started to emerge that the San Antonio Spurs, who looked invincible for a time, would be interested in acquiring the aging superstar.
It's hard to imagine that Garnett could be convinced to sign on with San Antonio. Or Boston, for that matter. There can be little doubt that playing with fellow future Hall of Famers Pierce and Ray Allen along with the upcoming Rajon Rondo has to have been the highlight of Garnett's 17-year career. That glorious 2008 championship win was KG's first, and it's hard to imagine that it wasn't his last.
There are people getting ready to finish high school who weren't even born when Garnett was picked 5th overall in the 1995 draft. Over the course of that time, he's played in 1,255 games. Reggie Miller went one more season, but he wasn't the kind of player that Garnett is. Any team that took KG for next season would give him the same kind of on-court responsibilities and demanding minutes he's had throughout his entire career.
Garnett has already made it clear that that's not likely to happen. He's mentioned retirement more than once over the years, hinting at both a lockout and the end of his career back in 2010. As the shortened post-lockout season got underway at the end of 2011, Garnett expressed just how much his time in Boston has meant to him, calling them "years that overshadowed the others." What more does KG have left to accomplish?
Taurus Londono has lived in Massachusetts for over ten years. He is a longtime fan of the Boston Celtics.