Kevin Garnett will be a Hall-of-Famer before his Minnesota Timberwolves number is retired

Kevin Garnett of the Minnesota Timberwolves, a finalist for the 2020 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Kevin Garnett of the Minnesota Timberwolves, a finalist for the 2020 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

As the feud between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the best player in their history rolls on, Kevin Garnett will be in the Hall of Fame and have his number retired from the Boston Celtics next season.

It’s no secret that Kevin Garnett and Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor are in Phase Two of a lengthy feud that began when KG was first traded to Boston.

But any hope that the two men could patch things up in time to have a beyond-well-deserved jersey retirement prior to Garnett’s induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has officially gone out the window.

On Friday of All-Star Weekend, the NBA announced that Garnett is one of eight finalists for the Hall of Fame. The night before, the Boston Celtics said that they would retire Garnett’s No. 5 during the 2020-21 season.

The Timberwolves? Still no No. 21 hanging in the Target Center rafters.

The last we’ve heard of the standoff was from The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski in October of 2018, as Garnett weighed-in on the Jimmy Butler trade saga (subscription required). In the article, Krawczynski says that Garnett “still believes his relationship with owner Glen Taylor is beyond repair”.

He also says that a Garnett jersey retirement “doesn’t appear to be imminent”, and Garnett says this about it:

"“That’s my home. Ain’t nothing going to change that,” Garnett said. “Just know that just because I ain’t in the rafters don’t mean I ain’t in that building every night. I left my spirit and my soul in there. You can’t ever replace that. You feel me? That will always be, forever, as long as they have the Timberwolves in Minnesota.”"

But now, the Celtics have beaten the Timberwolves to it. And while the order of KG’s jersey retirements is ultimately inconsequential, it’s another example of Wolves fans simply not being able to have nice things.

Garnett is about to be the only Hall-of-Famer in team history, and his jersey isn’t even retired by a team that only has Malik Sealy‘s No. 2 hanging in the rafters. Could there be a more apt microcosm of Timberwolves franchise history?

At any rate, good for Garnett, and it will be fun to see him be part of an absolutely loaded Hall of Fame class that will include Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan. The announcement of the official class will take place on April 4. Garnett only needs 18 of 24 votes to be confirmed, and it’s hard to imagine that being an issue.

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We’ll keep an eye on this saga. On the one hand, it sure seems like Garnett is waiting until Taylor is no longer in the ownership picture to allow his jersey to be retired. On the other hand, the Celtics won’t have their ceremony until next season, so the Wolves have some time to patch things up and get the ball rolling themselves.