Looks like the icy feud between former Boston Celtics teammates Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen has finally started to thaw. During All-Star weekend in Cleveland the “Big 3” were present as part of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary team.
It looked like things were still frosty as Allen walked past Garnett and dapped up LeBron during the halftime ceremony, but a picture of the three men together surfaced on Instagram, suggesting maybe they’re at least talking.
Kevin Garnett’s face while Ray Allen and LeBron dap up. 😂😂 (Via Getthebagcoach) pic.twitter.com/Ay5CF8LAXR
— hakki baysal (@taidohiroyuki) February 22, 2022
This league is so petty, and it’s hilarious.
Allen, Garnett and Pierce won the NBA title with the Celtics in 2008 and made the Finals again in 2010, losing to the Lakers in seven. They spent two more seasons together but Allen left to join Celtics’ rival LeBron James and the Miami Heat in 2012. Obviously, Garnett and Pierce felt some type of way about that.
“When Ray decided to go to the Heat I feel like he moved on,” Garnett said in 2017. “And he went to pursue another ring and he got another ring – shout out to him. And that’s it.”
The acrimony was it’s most evident immediately following Allen’s move to South Beach. When the two teams met to begin the 2012-13 NBA season, Allen greeted his former teammates and coaches but KG wasn’t trying to hear it. He stared blankly when Allen patted him on the shoulder.
KG might be the pettiest of all in the trio, so that tracks.
It extended to the Paul Pierce jersey retirement ceremony in 2018. Their coach Doc Rivers tried but failed to get the guys together and bury the hatchet.
“This one I take on myself,” the former Celtics coach said. “I really failed with the Paul jersey retirement. I really thought Ray should have come to that, and I tried to get him to, and he just — he wanted to, he was going to, and then he just didn’t.”
Over the years his language about Allen has softened. He congratulated Allen on social media on being named to the 75th Anniversary team.
Maybe the “snub” during the ceremony was the result of grown men being awkward weirdos for 10 years over a free agency decision. Just maybe.
When they were on the floor together that team was good and all three were in their early 30s when they joined forces. Imagine what they could’ve been in their primes? Garnett still the incredible defensive anchor, switchable big that can score 25. Pierce and Allen as offensive initiators and finishers.
They would’ve competed for more titles and potentially won more than one. It just wasn’t meant to be.
If the picture of the Big 3 together is a sign of fences being mended that’s good for them and for NBA fans. A championship team is special. That bond was forged in the fire of competition, and the players and their fans should have the chance to celebrate that as much as they can.
Playing in the NBA is an exclusive club. Those three men are among the best to ever do it. Hall of Famers, champions, greats. All-Star weekend is the annual reunion party for the exclusive club. The party is always more fun if everyone is getting along.