The Lakers Kobe Bryant and the Spurs Tim Duncan also retired at the end of last season.
Garnett was among the pioneers in the wave of preps to pros talents, and will go down in history as a likely Top 5 player at his position.
A versatile, athletic talent who could defend multiple positions, rebound, score in the post, handle the ball, and step out and hit open jump shots, Garnett was among the most skilled power forwards to ever play. However, it was his trademark intensity, work ethic, leadership, and intangibles, that were often even more impactful on the court.
Garnett led the Wolves to the playoffs for eight consecutive seasons, culminated by an appearance in the Western Conference Finals in 2004. After being traded to Boston on July 31, 2007, Garnett led the Celtics to the NBA title the following season.
“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank Kevin for all of his great accomplishments and contributions to the NBA, the Minnesota Timberwolves organization, and for me personally with the Boston Celtics," said Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau in a statement. "Kevin combined great talent with a relentless drive and intelligence. I will always cherish the memories of the way in which he led the Celtics to the 2008 NBA Championship. His willingness to sacrifice and his unselfishness led us to that title. Kevin will always be remembered for the way in which he played the game. His fierce competitiveness, his unequalled passion for the game, and the many ways in which he cared about this team was truly special. KG is without question the all-time best player to wear a Minnesota Timberwolves jersey, and he is also one of the best to ever play this game.”
Selected by the Timberwolves with the fifth overall pick in the 1995 NBA Draft, Garnett was the first player selected directly out of high school since 1975. He was named the NBA Most Valuable Player following the 2003-04 season.
Over his career, Garnett recorded nine All-NBA Team selections,12 All-Defensive Team selections and was tabbed to play in 15 NBA All-Star Games. For his career, Garnett averaged 17.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.3 steals per game.
Garnett retires as the Wolves’ all-time leader in numerous categories, including games played (970), minutes (36,189), points (19,201), rebounds (10,718), blocked shots (1,590), assists (4,216), steals (1,315), double-doubles (607) and triple-doubles (16).
"Kevin Garnett is one of the fiercest competitors our league has ever seen," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in a statement. "He held himself to the highest standard of preparation and performance for a remarkable 21 seasons. On behalf of the NBA family, I thank Kevin for his sustained excellence and the enormous impact he’s had on the game."
The 6-11 forward’s name is also prominent in the NBA all-time record book. Garnett finishes his career ranked fifth in games played (1,462), third in minutes (50,418), 17th in points (26,071), 11th in field goals made (10,505), ninth in total rebounds (14,662), first in defensive rebounds (11,453), 16th in steals (1,859) and 17th in blocks (2,037).
“It has been a real joy to watch KG come into the league as a young man and watch him develop his skills to become one of the very best in the NBA,” said Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. “I have treasured the opportunity to see him grow as a leader. I wish him continued success in the next chapter of his life. His Minnesota fans will always cherish the memories he has provided.”
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services