When Kevin Garnett was asked how he’ll approach the NBA All-Star Game, especially after playing an exhausting 102 minutes in his last four games, he took the interviewers by surprise when he mentioned mid-sentence that his 15th All-Star appearance would be his last.
“For it being my last,” said Garnett, “I got my family coming down.”
Hold the phone, what did you just say? The reporters were surprised and asked him to follow up on the last statement.
“This is definitely my last All-Star game,” he repeated.
Garnett has two years and $23.5 million remaining on his contract after this season, and considering he was voted a starter at age 36, what’s to stop him from making the roster in either of his next two seasons?
“Y’all don’t know what I know,” he said. “So, let’s put it like this: I’m more than grateful for going, but I’m not going to act like I’ve got more All-Star Games in me, so I’m actually going to enjoy this one with some friends and family. That’s what I meant.”
Despite signing a three-year extension with the Celtics this past offseason, Garnett has repeatedly dropped hints that any season could be his last, but this is the first time this year he’s alluded to it so clearly.
Of course, it’s important not to jump to the retirement conclusion. Garnett could also be acknowledging that a) another All-Star appearance at age 37 is far from guaranteed or b) he would decline an invitation in future seasons. Either way, he’ll enjoy this All-Star Game like he did the first 14.
“The All-Star experience for me is more for friends and fam,” he said. “You’ve always got that wild-ass uncle who shows his ass. You’ve always got that friend that you have to pull to the side and have that conversation. It’s no different for me. It’s a fun time.”
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