When Kevin Garnett joined the Boston Celtics, he had to pick a new jersey number since 21 — the number he wore for 12 years in Minnesota — was retired. He chose the number 5 because he was the 5th pick in the NBA draft. When KG took his talents to Brooklyn, he had the opportunity to wear 21 again, instead, in honor of his late teammate and friend Malik Sealy, Garnett went with the number 2.
Malik was born in the Bronx and attended St Johns University before becoming the 14th pick by the Indiana Pacers in 1992. After bouncing around the league for a couple of years, Malik ended up in Minnesota with KG. He would spend two seasons as KG’s friend and mentor before his tragic death in 2000. A death KG is reminded of every year because Malik was killed by a drunk driver while heading home from KG’s 24th birthday party.
I have a lot of favorite KG moments but my favorite one is probably KG’s most memorable dunk. The rebound dunk against the Sacramento Kings (play #2 in the above video) was great but it was the screaming and pointing to the banner of Malik Sealy that was raised earlier in the night that made it so memorable.
Rap fans might also remember his track off the 1994 compilation album B-Ball’s Best Kept Secret, and this line from Brooklyn rapper AZ: “Feel me, I’m loved like the great late Malik Sealy.”