MINNESOTA (WCCO) — Former Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Garnett has been selected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s 2020 class, along with Tim Duncan and the late Kobe Bryant.
His No. 5 jersey number is expected to be retired by the Boston Celtics in the upcoming NBA season, however, there are no current plans for it to to be hung in the rafters at Target Center any time soon.
A former fifth-overall NBA draft pick straight out of high school, Garnett is Minnesota’s all-time leader in points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals and minutes. He took the team to the playoffs eight times during his tenure in Minneapolis. The team has struggled to succeed in the postseason without him.
In all, Garnett played 21 seasons in the NBA, including 14 in Minnesota, and he finished his career with averages of about 18 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists per game.
He also played for the Brooklyn Nets — and won a championship with the Boston Celtics — but in 2015 he returned to Minnesota to end his playing career before retirement.
When former team President Flip Saunders brought Garnett back to Minnesota in a trade in 2015, the two talked about KG eventually becoming a minority owner.
Then Saunders suddenly died after a battle with lymphoma and the Wolves were forced to move on with new leadership. They decided to hire Tom Thibodeau as coach and president and Scott Layden as GM. Garnett feels that promises were broken and he left the organization after a tense buyout negotiation with owner Glen Taylor.
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor recently released the following statement in response to Garnett’s hall of fame induction:
This is an honor, so well deserved. We congratulate Kevin on being selected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. From the day we drafted him in 1995, we knew there was something special about him that Minnesota had never experienced before. I’ve watched Kevin grow on and off the court and will forever be grateful for his contributions to the Timberwolves organization. He was beloved by our fans in a way that only few players experience and will always have a place at Target Center. To be elected in his first year of eligibility validates the impact he had on basketball in Minnesota, the NBA, and around the globe. We are so happy for him to receive this recognition.
In an interview with The Athletic, Garnett was asked about Taylor and potentially having his jersey retired by the Timberwolves:
Glen knows where I’m at, I’m not entertaining it. First of all, it’s not genuine. Two, he’s getting pressure from a lot of fans and, I guess, the community there. Glen and I had an understanding before Flip died, and when Flip died, that understanding went with Flip. For that, I won’t forgive Glen. I won’t forgive him for that. I thought he was a straight up person, straight up business man, and when Flip died, everything went with him.
There’s no reason to complain. Just continue to move on. My years in Minnesota and in that community, I cherish. At this point, I don’t want any dealings with Glen Taylor or Taylor Corp. or anything that has to do with him. I love my Timberwolves, I’ll always love my guys, I’ll always love the people who (mess) with me there. I’ll always have a special place for the city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota in my heart. But I don’t do business with snakes. I don’t do business with snake (expletive). I try not to do business with openly snakes or people who are snake-like.