Garnett, set to be a starter in his 15th All-Star appearance, affirmed that this would be his last All-Star Game. When a reporter asked how he could be so certain with two years remaining on his contract, Garnett replied, "Y'all don't know what I know."
The 36-year-old Garnett has hinted at retirement numerous times in the past, but he signed a three-year, $36 million contract extension with Boston this offseason. Garnett could simply mean he has no plans to attend a future All-Star Game, but he was remarkably certain in his declaration that this will be his final trip to the midseason exhibition, noting that he's bringing in family and friends to celebrate the occasion.
"I’ll put it just like this: I’m more than grateful that I’m going to this game," said Garnett. "I’m not going to act like I got more All-Star Games in me, or whatever. So I’m actually going to enjoy this one with some friends and family. That’s what I meant."
Garnett kept it light while talking about his plans for this year's game in Houston.
"The All-Star experience, for me, is more for friends and family who have never been," he said. "You always have that wild-ass uncle who shows up, or you've got that friend that you always have to pull to the side and have that little conversation with. It's no different for me. It's a fun time, though."
Garnett said he'll balance family time with relaxation and the league-mandated obligations that go along with All-Star weekend. He stressed that he needs the downtime after an emotionally draining close to the first half which saw Boston win eight of nine despite losing three key members of its rotation in Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger and Leandro Barbosa.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers actually gave Garnett the option of taking Wednesday's game off after a grueling back-to-back earlier this week, which saw Garnett log 47 minutes in a triple-overtime win over the Nuggets (the most he's ever played in Boston) before playing 29 minutes in a loss in Charlotte the next night.
"[Rivers] gave me the opportunity to take the night off. I should have took that," joked Garnett. "I see everyone in here playing through everything, I'm no different than that. Paul [Pierce] is tired, everybody’s tired. No one is full of energy right now. I thought that was unfair. If [Rivers] wants to give everybody the night off, but that wasn’t an option. So I came out and gave what I could; tried to play hard, as always."
Garnett played a manageable 26 minutes against Chicago, but still finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds, scoring eight of those points on 4-of-5 shooting over 10:38 in the final frame as Boston rallied from a seven-point deficit to win.
Said Rivers: "I really was mad at myself because I had written down right after the Denver game to make him stay in Boston; don’t even let him fly to Charlotte. And I kind of let everyone talk me into it. And I didn’t think he should have even played in that game. I thought that three-overtime game, plus that game, flying back, getting in late, I just thought he didn’t have legs. And, fortunately, we rested him just enough that he was strong enough down the stretch [on Wednesday]."