Kevin Garnett’s place in Boston Celtics lore was never in question after the role he played in helping the franchise to its 17th championship in 2008. Garnett made up a Big Three in Boston along with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, the latter of whom became public enemy No. 1 for that squad after he bolted for Miami to team up with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.
For years, Allen has had a contentious at best relationship with his former teammates in Boston, as Garnett, Pierce, and others felt betrayed by Allen’s decision to leave for their top rival in the East at the time. While Pierce has indicated a desire to reconcile at some point, there haven’t been a lot of indications of when exactly that would come, but the signs have been pointing to an easing of tensions recently, starting with this year’s All-Star Game when the 75th Anniversary team was celebrated in Cleveland.
— BetMGM 🦁 (@BetMGM) March 13, 2022
On Sunday, Garnett’s No. 5 jersey went into the TD Garden rafters alongside the rest of the franchise legends and there was a lot of “will he, won’t he” talk about whether Allen — who was not at Paul Pierce’s jersey retirement in 2018 — would attend. Shortly before tipoff, Allen arrived at the arena for his first appearance with the Celtics since he left in a fairly momentous occasion.
Allen was seated with Kendrick Perkins courtside and got a nice ovation from the Celtics crowd when he was shown on the Jumbotron in the first quarter.
Ray Allen & Paul Pierce in the house pic.twitter.com/AmL3N13XEX
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It’s cool to see Allen back in the TD Garden and reuniting with his old teammates given how important he was to that 2008 team. Old grudges can die hard in the NBA, but it’s good to see all parties recognizing that it’s best to try and move on and reconcile sooner rather than later, while everyone is still here to be able to celebrate and reminisce together.
During the ceremony, KG took a moment to shout out Allen for being in attendance and saying “you’re next” in reference to Allen’s No. 20 eventually joining his and Pierce’s in the rafters.