Kevin Garnett was working out during the summer, hoping to do something no player in NBA history has ever done in returning for a 22nd season. But it's not going to happen. After more than 55,000 NBA minutes, Garnett made it official on his Instagram account that he is, in fact, retiring.
Garnett is an all-time player. He may be the most versatile defender in NBA history. At 6-foot-13 (he never wanted to be called a 7-footer), he had the agility of an All-Defensive guard and the height and reach of a cartoon center. During his first stint with the Timberwolves, Garnett was put at the top of the key in a pseudo zone designed by Flip Saunders, and asked to not only pester opposing point guards but also help against great scorers in the post. Saunders bent the rules of help defense with KG's ability to seemingly be everywhere on the court his team needed him to be.
He made 12 All-Defensive Teams in his career with nine First Team selections and three Second Team selections. He was the MVP in 2004 and the Defensive Player of the Year in 2008. He won a championship in his first season with the Boston Celtics. He ranks fifth all-time in games played, third in minutes played, 10th in total rebounds, 47th in assists, 17th in steals, 19th in blocks, and 20th on the all-time scoring list.
Garnett's versatility was a trademark of his career. He could play inside and outside. He was a fantastic passing big man. He ranks third all-time in seasons averaging at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists with three. Elgin Baylor is tied with him. Larry Bird is first with five seasons and Wilt Chamberlain is second with four seasons. No player has averaged 20-10-5 since KG did it in 2005.
He'll presumably go into the Hall of Fame at the same time as Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant. That will be a ticket to have in five years.