CHICAGO – Kevin Garnett continued to show appreciation for the Celtics’ retiring his No. 5.
And it wasn’t lost on Garnett that the Celtics decided to immortalize Garnett before the Minnesota Timberwolves did — although that’s where he spent his first 12 seasons and his last 1½ and remains the all-time leader in several statistical categories.
Garnett spoke Saturday on the difference between the Boston and Minnesota ownerships, still appearing angry for how he was treated by the Timberwolves.
“Listen, I have some great years in Minny, but when comes to management, it’s not even close,” Garnett said. “Minny, they run their team one way. Boston has a culture of basketball. They run it a whole other way and I respect that.
“So I can’t never tell another man what to do with his possessions or whatever he owns but I’m very, very appreciative of Boston and them retiring my No. 5. I’m super appreciative.”
Miami’s Derrick Jones Jr. won the dunk contest in controversial fashion as he and Orlando’s Aaron Gordon went to a dunkoff when both scored 50s in their final round.
In his winning dunk, Jones received a 48 for his Michael Jordan-style slam, taking off just in front of the free throw line and whipping the ball between his legs. Gordon responded by getting the Celtics’ Tacko Fall involved.
The 7-foot-5-inch Fall, who was in Chicago to participate in NBA Cares events, had to be coerced into holding the ball behind his head while Gordon leaped over him. Gordon was able to clear Fall and complete the dunk but received a score of 47.
It was a second heartbreak for Gordon, who finished second to Chicago’s Zach LaVine in 2016.
“Jumping over somebody 7-5 and dunking is no easy feat,” Gordon said. “What did I get, a 47? Come on man, what are we doing?”
Gordon said Fall was his second choice to leap over.
“I wanted to jump over Shaq [O’Neal], but he didn’t want to do it,” Gordon said. “Everybody was like, ‘Tacko! Tacko!’ I was like, ‘Cool man, let’s do it.’ But he was a little nervous. He was like, ‘I got faith in you.’ ”
The Bucks’ Pat Connaughton was eliminated in the second round despite scoring a 50 with his second dunk.
Earlier, the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum was eliminated in the first round of the Skills Challenge by Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis, who sank a 3-pointer on his second attempt to win. Miami’s Bam Adebayo defeated Sabonis in the final.
Kings guard Buddy Hield won the 3-point contest, edging the Suns’ Devin Booker.
New Hampshire native Duncan Robinson was eliminated in the first round.
As a way to honor Kobe Bryant’s All-Star legacy the game’s MVP will now be honored with the Kobe Bryant Award, commissioner Adam Silver announced Saturday at United Center.
Bryant, who was named All-Star MVP four times, tragically passed away along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash Jan. 26.
“I know it will be especially meaningful to that player that wins the first Kobe Bryant MVP,” Silver said. “So I’m sure there will be other honors as well, and as I mentioned, there are other things that we will be discussing with [the NBA board], when they meet in April to honor [former commissioner David Stern]. But this one seems so appropriate here at All-Star because nobody embodied All-Star more than Kobe Bryant.”
Silver also described the decision-making that went into the playing of games Jan. 26, hours after Bryant’s death.
“At that moment, we have a process for dealing with situations like this at the League Office that involves a group, as you might imagine, people in our senior management, together with our security group, trying to assess situations to try to get the best information,” Silver said. “The immediate issue was whether games were going to be played that night.
“We realized that people were already assembling for some of the games that were scheduled. People were already in arenas, and there still had not been confirmation that Kobe and Gigi had lost their lives. So it didn’t feel appropriate to us that we should be canceling our events and acknowledging something that was not official yet.”