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Echoes from the Rafters

Posted By johnw On Jul 28 2009 @ 11:58 pm In Boston Celtics | No Comments

Many great players have worn the Boston Celtic green over the years, and they are truly legends of the game. Around Boston, all you have to do is say the number on the back of the uniform and people will instantly know who you're talking about.

#6: Everyone knows #6 is one of the greatest winners of all time. #6 with the help of a guy named Red defined what a Celtic is and what he's all about. He's all about winning and being a great teammate.

#14: One of the greatest point guards to ever play in the NBA.  He was way ahead of his time. He showed future point guards how to run a fast break and how to be creative with their passing.

#17: The Celtics all time leading scorer. He's one of the greatest all around players ever. He was tenacious on both offense and defense. And as an added bonus, had really cool sideburns.

#00: The Chief. 'Nuff said.

#32: Arguably the greatest post player of all time. He had incredible moves inside and was almost impossible to guard against. Also, the man gets a big thumbs up from me for trading KG to the Celtics. Is he still working for the Celtics organization? Thank you.

#33: Most popular Celtic of all time. He's an American Hero in my opinion. His face should be etched into the mountain face of Mt. Rushmore. He's my childhood. He's the reason why I love the NBA.

There are of course other Celtics' greats with retired numbers like #3, #15, #24, and #25 and so on. Oh…and how could I forget LOSCY? This leads me to the question. Will we see #5 up in the rafters one day?

Before KG, the Celtics were 24W-58L in 2006-07 season. Dreadful season. However, everything would be okay because the Celtics were getting the number one pick in the draft, the giant center from Ohio State, Greg Oden. I'll never forget the night of the lottery. The Celtics had 99 ping pong balls out of a 100 and yet somehow ended up with the number 5 pick overall in the draft. I was devastated that night. I was thinking it was the end of the Celtics and it would take another 20 years for them to build a team. People were lining up to jump off the Zakim Bridge. Ahh…but the GM had an alternative plan, good old #44.

GM #44 added a veteran, #20, in the draft that year to go with the Captain #34. #20 is one of the greatest shooters of all time and trading for #20 was one of the keys to bringing the bigger piece of the puzzle here to Boston. The man I'm talking about is of course #5, Kevin Garnett. The acquisition of KG is one of the greatest trades in Celtic history.  I was in the car when I found out about the trade and almost drove off the road. I was screaming with excitement, people probably thought I was yelling at the traffic. I still can't believe who wears #5 for the Boston Celtics.

KG came to Boston and made an instant impact that summer. After all, it was the summer of Ubuntu. The Celtics had the great #34 already and then added #20. Now with #5, a new Big Three was born. And boy did they deliver.

In the 2007-08 season, the Celts were not just relevant again; they were great, all because of #5. He completely restored the franchise. And they won games the old fashioned way, with defense making #6 proud. The Celtics won 66 games in 07-08 season and #5 was the NBA defensive player of the year. And we all know what happened in the playoffs. The Celtics would win their 17th championship and glory was restored. All of this happened because of one player.

The Celtics had another great season in 2008-09, winning 62 games in the regular season. However, when #5 went down with an injury, the hopes for an 18th championship went down with him. The Celtics fought hard in the playoffs but it was made clear how important KG is to the team.

Lucky for us, #5 is signed through the 2011-2012 season. He will be in Boston for a while. And now with the addition of #30 the Celtics improved their chances in raising a couple more banners.

Only considering his accomplishments to date and what he's meant to the Celtic organization, I retire #5. The Celtics measure the greatness of a player by championships. And even though up to this point he's brought home one championship banner; I still put his number up there in the rafters with the other greats. The Celtics went 21 years without a championship and had a couple of tragedies along the way. Though the Celtics showed flashes during the 21 years, they did not have a great team since the retirement of #33. The Celtics were down and out for two decades till #5 agreed to come here. He fits so well with the organization. He gets it. He understands what being a member of the Boston Celtics its all about. Winning and being a great teammate. I'm sure #5 will be retired along side another great Celtic #34.

If only considering the past two seasons, would you retire KG's #5?  Let me know what you think.

johnwareham@sportstalkbuzz.com


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