On January 26, 2014, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett returned to the Garden in Boston for the first time since leaving the Celtics in the July 2013 trade that sent them (and Jason Terry) to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries’ expiring contract, Keith Bogans, Kris Joseph, and first-round draft picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018. In the intervening time since the trade, both teams have been bad, at points almost unwatchable. Look at Boston coach Brad Stevens’ face in this screen grab from the Pierce / Garnett homecoming game.
That score! Blegh. But before getting to the game (or maybe putting off having to play it), the Celtics showed video tributes to both Pierce and Garnett on the jumbotron to continuous standing ovation from the crowd. (Pierce’s included that song from The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty—the one that goes “ah ah ah ah ahhhhh oh ohhhhhh”—which apparently makes me tear up immediately now.) Both videos included cuts to the rafters showing Boston’s retired jersey numbers, where two blank spaces were awaiting numbers 34 and 5. It was great.
But that got us talking here in the ALTTAB Dome. Obviously Pierce’s number will be retired by the Celtics—but Garnett? He only played there for five years. Look at his Basketball Reference page. Sure he won his title Boston, but he’s the best Minnesota Timberwolf ever and he was there for 12 years! Do they even have any retired jerseys? Stephon Marbury? Why would the Celtics take him away from Minnesota? Can two teams retire a player’s jersey?
On looking into it, I found that retired jerseys are way more interesting and complex than I anticipated. So here we go, ALTTAB Radio’s Top Five Fun Facts About NBA Retired Numbers.