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Rob Gronkowski Wasn't The Only Boston Legend To Call It Quits This Weekend

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers

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I know the Gronk retirement news is one of the major stories from this past weekend for everyone in the New England region, but I can’t sit here and let the retirement of another Boston legend go without a special shoutout. Big Al is officially hanging it up after a 14 year career spanning across five different teams. I’ll never forget watching that draft back in 2004 and having no fucking clue who the Celtics just took with the 15th pick, but it took about 15 seconds of watching him play for Al to instantly become one of my favorite Celtics. His game didn’t really make sense, he wasn’t a super athlete or anything like that, he only put up like 8/4 his first two years, but then came that 2006/07 season. Finally getting real minutes he became a double double machine, averaged 16/11 on 51% shooting and certainly looked like the big man of the future for a team that desperately needed one. The twin tower pairing of Big Al and a young Perk had the Celtics positioned well for years to come with some of the most intimidating big men the East had.

Of course, we all know what happened next. Ainge was able to get a little favor from his buddy McHale, and Jefferson became the cornerstone piece for the KG trade. Now that they had a full season where Jefferson showed he could put up great stats as both a low post scorer and a rebounder at the age of 22, that trade doesn’t happen without him. There were plenty of Celtics fans that were sad to see Al go, he was our guy, but I think we all knew what we were getting with KG and realized you had to give up something to get something.

His first season in MIN was pretty much what he was advertised as. A 20/11 machine he played and started in all 82 games for the Timberwolves. He looked like a real piece until he blew out his ACL 50 games into the next season, one that he was averaging 23/11. Devastating for both him and the franchise given what they traded to get Jefferson, and even though he came back the next year and put up 17/9, ultimately MIN moved on from him trading him to UTA for what ended up being trash (Kosta Koufous, Donatas Motiejunas, Terrance Jones). He had a good run in UTA, had to deal with the Deron Williams/Jerry Sloan bullshit but still put up numbers. He was still the double/double machine he always was even coming off his ACL, even signed a massive free agent deal with the Bobcats in 2014 and immediately put up 21/10 starting 73 games. Sadly things went south quickly as he played fewer and fewer games before signing on in IND for a brief stint.

A pretty wild career when it was all said and done, career averages of 15/8 on 49% shooting, obviously Big Al will always have a special place in my heart not just for what he did while the Celtics were terrible, but what him being awesome ultimately delivered. It may not have been as historic a tenure as what Gronk had in NE, but it also brought me the only title I’ve ever seen in my entire life for the Celtics, so to me it means just as much.

Can’t wait to watch him dominate the Big 3 with the old man game that’s been killing people for over a decade.