NBA legend Kevin Garnett had his jersey retired by the Boston Celtics on Sunday. He played six seasons in Boston, was a multiple-time All-Star, All-NBA and All-Defensive player. He, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen were the Celtics’ new big three and helped lead the team to their first championship in 22 years in 2008. Allen was in the house on Sunday letting the basketball world know the beef between him and Garnett was over.
“It’s good to see Ray Allen here, man. Real sh-t,” Garnett said as the arena erupted. “It’s good to see you here, Ray. You next, Lord!”
The Big 3
Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce share a hug during his jersey retirement ceremony. pic.twitter.com/cAdhUNF1p5
— NBA (@NBA) March 13, 2022
Fans want to believe that teammates are BFFs and hang out together all the time. It’s silly but it’s part of the mythology of sport. Truth is these guys are co-workers. Sometimes it’s more. But usually, it’s not and that’s ok.
It is nice when guys can bury whatever hard feelings they have and come out and support a former teammate for a big honor.
This night was no guarantee, as Allen did not attend Pierce’s jersey retirement ceremony, and there was no guarantee he would be at Garnett’s.
“It did center around Kevin and myself because I did get the sense that the people here felt how Kevin felt. Once he accepted me, then the people accepted me,” Allen said. “I was glad we could do that and people could see, ‘We won with this guy in 2008, and that’s what matters most.’”
When Allen joined the rival Miami Heat in 2012, Garnett took it personally and it was cold between the group for a while. They would aim slights at each other. The crew minus Allen would get together and talk slick. But Allen and Garnett spoke and cleared the air.
A picture of the three men at this year’s All-Star weekend in Cleveland suggested things were on the mend.
“We never (saw each other),” Allen said Sunday. “I crossed paths with Paul in China, so we had an opportunity to talk and just talk. And I think more than anything, just be able to talk and talk about our feelings, about things we did, we didn’t do. And once we did that, we could move forward and we could laugh. Any time after that, Paul and I, we saw each other, it was like nothing had changed. We’re just trying to raise our kids and make them productive members of society. I just never had that opportunity around Kevin. I hadn’t seen him at all. It took All-Star weekend.”
All-Star weekend is like the NBA’s annual convention. It’s where so many people associated with the league, from players, coaches, and executives get a chance to all be together and reminisce.
“Words didn’t have to be exchanged,” said Allen. “But just being around each other and just kind of talking a little bit; we’re old men now, and we have nothing to sit back and be angry about because we did some special things together. We have to continue to celebrate that moving forward. That was a good moment for us, All-Star weekend.”