WALTHAM, Mass. — There will come a day, not so far into the future, that Kevin Garnett will hang up his sneakers for good.
Rajon Rondo will believe that when he sees it.
Rondo said one day before his Boston Celtics were set to open the regular season against Garnett’s Brooklyn Nets that he believes his former teammate still has plenty left in the tank.
“I just appreciate the years I played with him, not that this might be his last year, because each year, people say it’s his last year,” Rondo said Tuesday at Celtics practice. “You can never challenge his heart or count him out. He might play another two, three more years. He takes very good care of his body. It’s just a matter of if he wants to play or not.”
Garnett is entering his 20th NBA season, having played 12 years for the Minnesota Timberwolves and six for the Celtics before landing in Brooklyn ahead of the 2013-14 campaign. For comparison’s sake, Rondo was 9 years old when Garnett was drafted way back in 1995, and current Celtics rookie James Young hadn’t even been born yet.
“It means he’s blessed,” Rondo said of Garnett’s two decades of pro ball. “He’s taken great care of his body. With a little bit of luck and the blessing from the man above, he’s very fortunate to play that long. The average NBA (career is four and a half years), and he’s quadrupled it. He’s a great inspiration, and he’s my friend.”
Garnett’s 1,377 career games lead all active players and rank ninth in NBA history. An injury-free season could vault him as high as fifth all-time, behind only Karl Malone (1,476), John Stockton (1,504), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,560) and Robert Parish (1,611).
Injuries did limit the availability of both Garnett and Rondo last season, though. The Jan. 26 game between the Celtics and Nets was the only one of the teams’ four meetings that both players were active for.
Rondo’s status for Wednesday’s matchup remains in jeopardy, as the Celtics have yet to confirm whether the point guard will play.
Photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
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