It still feels like yesterday.
Boston Garden was going crazy because we knew the championship
was ours. Guys started celebrating, Paul dumped that red Gatorade
on Doc’s head and we all celebrated like 10-year-old kids.
Somehow, it’s already been 14 years since we beat the Lakers in
the 2008 NBA Finals, and even after all this time, I haven’t
forgotten those moments. It’s like I have pictures ingrained in my
And going back to where it all went down to join my teammates to
honor Kevin Garnett — even after all these years, man, Boston still
feels like home.
I feel so blessed to have been able to play a part in such a
great team accomplishing the ultimate goal. And we all felt like we
played a small part in Ticket’s jersey getting retired.
Last weekend, I was invited by the Celtics organization to
attend Kevin Garnett’s jersey retirement ceremony. It was scheduled
to happen during Sunday’s game against the Mavericks, and a bunch
of the members of the 2008 team got together and spent the entire
weekend in Boston. It was amazing.
It was like the band was back together. Just like old times, I
was hanging out, cracking jokes and reminiscing with Paul Pierce,
Big Baby Davis and Eddie House. I got to chop it up a bit and catch
up with Danny Ainge. And of course, I got to not only catch up with
Ray Allen and KG; I got to see them publicly, and once and for all,
squash whatever beef they may have had.
Sometimes in life, one tiny decision you make ends up having
such a huge impact. Before I signed with Boston, I really thought I
was going to New Jersey to play with Jason Kidd and the Nets. But
for a few reasons, I ended up heading to Boston instead.
One of the things I’ll always remember about being a Celtic was
the fact that when I came to Boston, I was the only player on the
team who had already won a championship. Doc would sometimes ask me
questions in front of the team and want to get my perspective. He’d
ask me about things that Pat Riley preached and habits that Dwyane
Wade and Shaq had. He figured that I’d gotten the top of the
mountain, so I at least knew what the view looked like, you
But even though I had that experience, being around Ticket was
He was so easy to rally around because he made it his personal
duty to do all that he could to push everybody around him. And even
after all these years, he still has the same unique energy.
When Ticket walks in the room, it’s like you immediately get on
guard. He just makes you want to be sharp and on point. He has the
same energy today, but it was that times 10 when he was your
teammate pushing you on the floor.
Everyone on the 2008 team just has a special love and
appreciation for Ticket.
So being able to reconnect with guys that you won a championship
with and doing it in honor of someone who helped to bring
out the best in you, that just made the entire weekend in Boston
all the more enjoyable.
It felt like everywhere we went in the city this past Friday and
Saturday, people loved us and respected us and knew us by name.
With the Celtics organization itself, they treated us like
first-class citizens and made sure we were taken care of.
Not only does Boston remember what we achieved, they will never
stop showing us love. And we owe a lot of that to KG. It was nice
to see him get the highest honor that an organization is able to
bestow on one of its own.
What I’ll remember most from that weekend — aside from Jaylen
Brown’s monstrous dunk over Maxi Kleber — was
KG shedding tears as he saw his jersey go up into the rafters.
A couple of us, including Big Kendrick Perkins, may have had one
or two side bets about whether Ticket would cry. KG himself didn’t
think he would crack, but he obviously couldn’t hold it all
together, so we at least have something to tease him about the next
time we see one another.
When I replay the weekend in my head, though, I kept finding
myself thinking about Ray Allen. I was happy to see him there, but
wasn’t surprised that he attended.
I knew that everything that was said about him after he left for
Miami would eventually become water under the bridge. But I knew
that because I was a member of that team. The guys on that 2008
team simply loved each other too much and had too strong of a bond
to let Ray’s decision to leave ruin the bond forever. Even as words
were exchanged over the years, I had all the confidence in the
world that KG and Ray would bury the hatchet, and it unexpectedly
happened during KG’s moment.
While being interviewed during his jersey-retirement ceremony,
out of nowhere, Ticket basically interrupted the interviewer just
to say that it was good to see Ray there. Everyone started cheering
before the two met at halfcourt and hugged.
As great as he was, Ticket was truly unselfish. So I guess it
was fitting for him to share his moment in the spotlight with Ray
and finally, publicly, squash the beef.
Nothing says “brother” more than that.
I think what most people don’t really understand about being a
pro athlete is how strong the relationship between teammates can
become. The longer guys are together, the deeper the connection
usually gets. And when you actually have success as teammates and
when you win a championship together, it’s almost as if
the bond is solidified. And I speak from experience. Not only do
you become members of an elite fraternity together, you helped one
another get there.
Deep down inside, I think Ticket and Ray both had those feelings
about each other.
After what’s been said over the past few years, that was a
beautiful thing to witness, and I’m happy I was there in person to
I’ll never forget seeing KG and Ray hugging and jumping up and
down at halfcourt at TD Garden back in 2008. It truly feels like
In honor of Kevin Garnett — our leader and the engine that
pushed that team — no other Celtic will ever wear No. 5.
I’m proud to call him a friend and a teammate, and even prouder
to see him receive the ultimate honor.
Fortunately, I have some new memories that I’ll forever