Who's next after Garnett? These Boston stars could have numbers retired


Boston Celtics legend Kevin Garnett had his No. 5 retired to the rafters at TD Garden on Sunday.

Garnett spent just six seasons with the C's but helped the team end its championship drought by playing a pivotal role in the 2008 NBA Finals-winning squad. 

Now that Garnett's number has been retired, it's time to look at which other players from Boston teams could soon have their own number retirement ceremony.

Here's a recap of the best candidates from the Celtics, Bruins, Red Sox and Patriots.

Boston Bruins

The Bruins have enjoyed a very success period from 2004 to today. They have reached the playoffs in 13 of the last 17 seasons, including three trips to the Stanley Cup Final and one championship (2011).

Patrice Bergeron is a slam dunk to have his No. 37 retired. He's arguably one of the top five players in Bruins history and has spent all 18 of his NHL seasons in Boston. 

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Zdeno Chara is another easy choice for a number retirement. He spent 14 seasons with the Bruins, serving as captain for all of them and playing at a Hall of Fame level as a No. 1 defenseman. His No. 33 shouldn't be worn again.

Brad Marchand is another decent bet. He's quickly rising up the team's all-time scoring leaderboard and has achieved lots of playoff success with the B's. At this rate, his No. 63 seems destined for the rafters.


A couple players who you could build a case for are David Krejci (No. 46) and Tuukka Rask (No. 40). Krejci was an excellent No. 2 center for over a decade and led the playoffs in scoring in 2011 and 2013. The recently retired Rask was one of the best goalies of his era. From a statistical standpoint, few goalies in team history can match what Rask accomplished.

Two younger players who are on the right trajectory but still have a long way to go are right winger David Pastrnak (No. 88) and defenseman Charlie McAvoy (No. 73). 

The Bruins have retired 12 numbers so far, with Willie O'Ree's No. 22 being the most recent one in February. This total could easily go up to 15 by the end of the decade if Chara, Bergeron and Marchand all receive the honor.

Boston Celtics

After Garnett, there aren't many other good candidates to have their number retired. Everyone who's worthy has already received the honor. The Celtics have retired an NBA-high 23 (!) numbers.

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Ray Allen (No. 20) played really well for the Celtics and helped the team win the NBA Finals in 2008, but he only spent five seasons in Boston and his exit wasn't great.

Jayson Tatum (No. 0) appears well on his way to becoming a Celtic great, but he's only in his fifth pro season. 

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox have retired three numbers in the last seven years.

  • 2015: Pedro Martinez, No. 45
  • 2016: Wade Boggs, No. 26
  • 2017: David Ortiz: No. 34

Two longtime Red Sox players whose numbers are worthy of retirement are pitcher Roger Clemens (No. 21) and outfielder Dwight Evans (No. 24). Clemens won three Cy Young Awards as an elite pitcher for the Red Sox from 1984 through 1996. Evans was a three-time All-Star, won eight Gold Glove awards and helped the Red Sox reach the World Series in 1975 and 1986. He spent 19 of his 20 major league seasons in Boston.

Dustin Pedroia (No. 15) is a great candidate from recent Sox history. He won an MVP, a Rookie of the Year Award, four Gold Glove awards and three World Series titles (although he barely played in 2018). Manny Ramirez (No. 24) was one of the league's top players during his Red Sox career from 2000 through his trade to the Dodgers in 2008. Ramirez's numbers and playoff resume speak for themselves. 

Pedroia probably has the best chance of seeing his number retired among the four candidates listed above.


New England Patriots

We don't see a lot of numbers get retired in football because you always have 53 players on a roster and there are only 99 possible numbers. Some position groups only use a certain set of numbers, and it often doesn't make sense to shrink that pool of available numbers by retiring some.

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That said, there are exceptions, and someone like Tom Brady certainly qualifies. He's the best player in NFL history. His resume speaks for itself -- seven Super Bowl victories (six with New England) and many league/team records.

Brady is -- and always will be -- the best player in Patriots history. Nobody should wear No. 12 again.