An Open Letter to Kevin Garnett from an Impassioned Boston Celtics Fan

Mike Walsh@WalshWritesCorrespondent IFebruary 23, 2013

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 13: Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics reacts following a foul against the Chicago Bulls during the game on February 13, 2013 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Dear Kevin,

I have to say, you are easily the most complex athlete I've ever had the pleasure of rooting for. You do some inexcusable things but are also one of most generous people around. 

Recently, I had my own doubts about whether I wished for you to remain in green through the trade deadline. You and I both know that things are tough without Rajon Rondo on the floor, and they are only going to get tougher as the season and postseason wear on. 

Your winning streak before the All-Star break was valiant and truly validated the kind of men I always thought you and Paul Pierce were. It has been such a privilege to root for both of you over the past handful of seasons. 

At the same time, because everything that has happened over the past five seasons has been so fantastic, I don’t want it to end in embarrassment. Since you've been in Boston, the Celtics have not been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

After suffering all these injuries, that is starting to seem like a very definite possibility. Had you waived your no-trade clause, a whole other group of people could have gotten to experience the interesting phenomenon of having you play for their team. 

The Los Angeles Clippers would have been good to you, and you would have had a great chance at battling deep into another playoff. I’m sure their long-tortured fans would have adopted you quickly and loved what you could provide. 

However, waiving that clause—jumping a (maybe) sinking ship for a shot at a second ring on the other side of the country—would have been the easy way out. As you have said before, plastic people are melting all around you. Going to play for the Clippers would have been a pretty plastic thing to do.

Saying no to the pressure from Chris Paul displayed fierce loyalty to New England and the city of Boston. I’m not sure I’ve ever respected an athlete more than you at this moment.

I can easily relate to you. When it comes to change, I tend to reject it too. 

That’s why you were so hesitant to make the move to Boston from Minnesota six years ago. You are the true embodiment of a “never say die” attitude.

That title you brought to my city, as well as all the other playoff runs and amazing individual games, will forever be in my mind. However, it wasn’t until now that I understood the incredible devotion that Timberwolves fans must feel for you. You stuck it out with them through good years and bad. 

Danny Ainge had to send a crowbar to pry you loose from those roots. That was an exciting time to be a Celtics fan, as you joined Pierce and Ray Allen. The relationship you formed with those two and the rest of the organization was a refreshing sight for those of us who dealt with the lengthy losing streaks of the prior season. 

However, you are more than just a mercenary. I’ve seen veterans swap teams to chase rings constantly over my years as a sports fan. Most don’t develop relationships with the fans of that new team. The teammates and cities are always a means to an end. 

Especially with this recent development, you have turned that idea on its head. The Celtics could have been a way to get a ring and retire. You could have moved on numerous times over the past six years. Nobody would have blamed you. It is something we’ve all grown used to.

Instead, you became a real Boston Celtic—so much so that I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if your No. 5 hangs up in the rafters next to 33, 17, 34 and, of course, one of your biggest fans, 6.

Could that 2008 team have won the title without you forcing a complete culture change within the franchise? It takes more than a conglomeration of talent to win a championship, and what you added off the court forced that team over the edge. 

Since then, your surrounding cast has changed again and again, but your influence has been a constant. You’ve helped launch more careers than anyone could imagine, and almost every Boston Celtic over the past six seasons owes you a bit of gratitude.

Just like the fans owe you, now more than ever.

Thanks, KG. Give Booboo my best.

Mike Walsh