Two empty spots side by side seems fitting to host "34" and "5"
The answer is yes - Kevin Garnett does deserve to have "5" hanging in the Garden rafters. But it may not have the impact it should, simply based off of how many numbers Boston has retired over the years.

Yes, the Celtics have the most rich tradition in basketball, and with 17 championships, should have a significant amount of retired jerseys. But Paul Pierce (who obviously will be retired) and KG will make 24 retired numbers when they go up.

Does Don Nelson really deserve to be up there as a player? Cedric Maxwell (12.5 PPG for his career) is up there for the lone reason that he is the 1981 NBA Finals MVP. Dennis Johnson was the fourth option on his team at best, he was a good player on great teams, but does he qualify to have his number raised?

Outside of Reggie Lewis, Pierce and Garnett would be the only Celtic numbers displayed that did not win multiple championships wearing green. So obviously the qualifications to have a jersey retired in Boston is simply just winning. Garnett changed the mindset of the entire franchise back to winning when he came here in 2007 - something that deserves to be recognized.

The point is that this is a tricky situation. Garnett not only deserves to have his "5" immortalized in Celtics history, but his number deserves to be up there more than at least a handful of the numbers already up there. So since there is a debate regarding whether or not KG's number deserves to be retired, many will think "well then, he must not have been as good as all those other players up there." But who would you rather have on your team: Cornbread Maxwell or Kevin Garnett?

Obviously Bill Russell, Larry Bird, John Havlicek and even Paul Pierce one day stand out as the most prominent Celtic legends. Those are lifelong Celtics (for the most part) and will always be recognized at the top. But even though there will be debate as to if Garnett deserves to be worshiped among other Celtic greats, remember not only does he deserve to be, but he was one of the best.

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Julian Edlow 1/28/2014 12:28:00 PM Edit
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