Who remembers where they were on this date 11 years ago? I can’t say it enough, that commercial you hopefully just watched could not be more accurate. That’s EXACTLY how we all felt. Remember, this was a few months after the Ray Allen trade where we didn’t really know what Trader Danny was up to, but then the calendar turned to July 31st and our lives were changed forever. I know we throw hyperbole around here a lot, but that really did change my life and probably yours as well. Kevin Garnett became a motherfucking Celtic. Incredible. Unbelievable. Pick whatever word you want, the feeling we had as Celtics fans that day was unlike anything I had ever experienced. Mostly my Celtics fandom had consisted of disappointment and heartbreak, but this day changed everything.
We talk about Ainge now and how he destroys teams because of the Nets trade, but let’s not forget what he got KG for. A package of Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff, and 2 first-round draft picks. You’d think GMs would have learned their lesson but nope. Now Big Al was a legit 20/10 player at that time, but other than that it was mostly trash. It sure does pay to have friends in high places because McHale 100000% did his buddy a solid. You won’t find me complaining that’s for damn sure.
To say KG changed the culture of the Celtics organization would be the understatement of the century. Few players come in and embrace what it means to be a Celtic and what that entails more than KG did, and it was infectious. His intensity, his preparation, his leadership, it all helped get this team back to where it was during the glory days. I know his 6 seasons in Boston isn’t all that long compared to the 14 he had in MIN, but I think why KG’s tenure is valued by so many is because of everything else that he meant to the organization outside of his play. During his 6 seasons he averaged a respectable 15.7/8.3/2.7 on 52% shooting during the regular season, and then in the playoffs elevated his game 17.5/9.9/2.6 on 49% shooting. We can all agree that his 2009 injury prevented them from going back to back and I can say with complete honesty that all those guys will always have a special time in my heart because they gave me something I never thought I’d experience. That 2008 title. It may seem like there are a bunch more of those things on the horizon, but back then it could not have been more different. Seeing as how I pretty much missed the Larry Bird era, I had no idea what it felt like to see a banner go up at the Garden, and I will forever be thankful for that experience. If I am ever blessed to meet anyone from that team, whether it’s Pierce, Ray, KG, Rondo, Scal, PJ Brown, hell even Doc, the first thing I am going to do is thank them. Without the trade that went down today, none of that would be possible.
So as a way to celebrate such a life changing moment, let’s all enjoy the monster that was Kevin Garnett, and be thankful that Ainge saw an opportunity and pounced. What a fucking boss.