Celtics

Kevin Garnett among the 2020 inductees to the Basketball Hall of Fame

Kevin Garnett among the 2020 inductees to the Basketball Hall of Fame

Another Boston Celtics great will be enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a part of the Class of 2020.

Kevin Garnett will join Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan among the 2020 player inductees into the Hall of Fame.

Garnett played 21 NBA seasons after being the fifth overall pick in the 1995 draft. He spent the first 12 seasons of his career with the Minnesota Timberwolves where he developed into a star, winning the league MVP after the 2003-04 season and establishing himself as a perennial All-Star.

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“You put countless hours into this. You dedicate yourself to a craft. You take no days off. You play through injury...This is the culmination,” Garnett told ESPN (transcribed by MassLive.com's John Karalis) after his election was announced on Saturday. "All those hours of everything you’ve ever put up for it all, this is what you do it for right here. To be able to be called a Hall of Famer is everything."

In the summer of 2007, Garnett was famously traded to the Celtics to team with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen as a new "Big Three" in Boston. In their first season together, the team beat the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals to give Garnett his first and only title. He spent six years with the C's before being traded to the Brooklyn Nets and ending his career where it started, with the Timberwolves.

“Playing with Paul, playing with Ray, coming to Boston, was a huge, huge, huge, huge, huge, huge challenge in my life,” Garnett told ESPN. “It was probably one of the biggest decisions I’ve made in my career and I’m glad I made it. We should have got together a couple of years earlier, right? We’d probably be sitting on two or three more rings.”

Garnett averaged 17.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game in his career. He was a 15-time All-Star, made the NBA All-Defensive Team 12 times, was an All-NBA player nine times, led the league in rebounds four times, and took home a Defensive Player of the Year Award with the Celtics in 2007-08. He certainly is a worthy Hall of Famer given the accolades he received, his longevity, and the leadership he displayed throughout his career.

Duncan and Bryant are worthy Hall of Fame inductees as well. Duncan averaged 19.0 points and 10.8 rebounds in a 19-year career that saw him earn 15 All-Star nods, two MVPs, and five NBA titles.

Bryant, who tragically died in a helicopter crash earlier this year, was one of the greatest scorers in NBA history. He averaged 25 points per game, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game and spent his entire 20-year career with the Lakers. He made 18 All-Star appearances, won five titles, received the 2007-08 MVP award and lead the league in scoring twice.

Cedric Maxwell 'absolutely loved' seeing Celtics players step up, lead call for change

Cedric Maxwell 'absolutely loved' seeing Celtics players step up, lead call for change

Several Boston Celtics players have been leaders in calling for change and participating in peaceful protests in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis last week.

Celtics guard Jaylen Brown drove 15 hours from Boston to his home state of Georgia to lead a peaceful protest in Atlanta. Celtics centers Enes Kanter and Vincent Poirier, as well as guard Marcus Smart also took part in peaceful protests Sunday in Boston.

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Cedric Maxwell played for the Celtics from 1977-78 through 1984-85, and he's spent most of the last two decades as a radio analyst for the team. He's very happy that these Celtics players are stepping up in this crucial moment.

"I absolutely loved it. It was fascinating to see," Maxwell said on "Arbella Early Edition" on Tuesday night. "Jaylen Brown -- I love what he did, to drive down 15 hours going to Atlanta. The only thing that disappointed me about Jaylen Brown was the fact that he did not have a mask on. If you're going to lead, you've got to lead on every aspect.

"I have just marveled at that, the fact that you have our players, like my family, my kids, are doing something that's so positive that they don't have to do. And they're showing the fact that they're connected to this community. That to me, is just -- that's what it is supposed to be about. Players during my era, we weren't connected like that. Now that these guys live in a city, they live and breathe and do the same things the city does."

NBC Sports Boston Celtics Insider A. Sherrod Blakely isn't only impressed with the players doing their part to bring about change, he's encouraged by the message from coaches like Brad Stevens on how they can play their own role in fighting racial injustice.

"The thing that jumps out to me about the Celtics isn't so much the players who are stepping up, but those around them, the Brad Stevens' of the world," Blakely said. "On his call with reporters earlier today, the one thing he talked about that really kind of resonated with me were the conversations that he was having with other white coaches in the NBA. He talked about how they can't just have empathy for players -- the black players and black coaches and the assistants.

They have to be part of what drives change throughout this time. I thought that was really important for him to acknowledge that, that they can't just be on the sidelines saying, 'We feel so bad for you guys, we're so sorry.' No, you have to be part of the process that brings about change, and I think the simple acknowledgement of that being their role, that to me is the beginning of things turning around.

"When you look back at the Civil Rights movement back in the 1950s and 1960s, as much as Dr. Martin Luther King was at the forefront of that, there were a lot of white people who helped elevate that platform to another level. I think if we're going to get the kind of systemic change that we're talking about, that has to happen among the NBA family as well." 

Brad Stevens, NBA coaches have 'power and platform to affect change and will use it'

Brad Stevens, NBA coaches have 'power and platform to affect change and will use it'

NBA players have been the most outspoken group of professional athletes when it comes to raising awareness following the killing of George Floyd by ex-police officer Derek Chauvin last week.

Their voices and their platforms — while helpful — won’t be enough. 

They need allies and the league’s head coaches are ready to do their part in bringing about systemic change. The National Basketball Coaches Association has formed a committee on racial injustice and reform.

“We have the power and platform to affect change, and we will use it,” the group said via statement. 

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Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said all 30 NBA coaches were on a call recently.

“One thing that I heard from a number of coaches, as white coaches we have a lot of responsibility here,” Stevens said. 

Like the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, bringing about the kind of wide-ranging, systemic change that so many are now championing can’t be done by one person or one group. 

“We may not be able to know the depth of the pain of colleagues that are black or players that are black, our assistants that are black, but we have a responsibility to not only be empathetic but also help drive change,” Stevens said. “You saw in the coaches association statement; you saw in the Celtics statement. We have all been in these conversations before. And you’re moved to drive change and sometimes actionable steps lead to what you think is progress but this sure doesn’t look like progress."

Stevens added, “What we need to do is play our part and make sure we’re part of long-term, sustainable change.”