“I plan to put (Ainge’s) number in the rafters one day for all he’s done.”
There is a fairly solid case for Ainge's #44 to be retired. The other four starters from the legendary 1986 team are all up there. His moves as GM in the summer of 2007 led to another banner, and brought the NBA's greatest franchise back to prominence for the first time in nearly two decades. If Ainge can pull off a second major turnaround and have the C's contending again in the next few years he absolutely deserves a place among the all-time Celtic greats (although should accomplishments as a GM count towards a player's number being retired? That's a whole other conversation...).
But then there is also the issue of Boston running out of numbers. #34 will definitely be up there, as will #5 (and possibly even #20 too). Get ready to start to watching a team full of guys wearing uniforms in the forties, fifties and beyond. Not that #44 is too big a deal, but if Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen all end up in the rafters the Celtics will have just 13 available numbers below 35 (0, 4, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30); with only 9 of those (0, 4, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13 and 30) fitting the traditional basketball standard of referees being able to signal them with their fingers.
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