In a report that I tweeted about yesterday, and was written about in a story today from Yahoo! Sports’ Kelly Dwyer, Kevin Garnett will don jersey number 2 in honor of late Minnesota teammate Malik Sealy.
Sealy died in a car crash a few hours before tip-off of Game 1 on the 2000 Western Conference finals between the Lakers and Blazers. Sealy was a widely respected teammate of KG and was driving back to his house after celebrating Garnett’s birthday when a drunk driver hit him head on. Garnett was the last person to see him alive.
The story, as told by Dwyer, is as follows:
Sealy was an inspiration to KG, as the young forward sported the number 21 as a member of the Timberwolves in response to Sealy wearing the same number while at St. John’s. So when the Timberwolves traded for Garnett’s idol in 1999, KG was through the roof. Sealy spent two seasons as Garnett’s teammate, and though the team failed to get out of the first round in 1999-00, perhaps their season’s top highlight came when Sealy banked in a game-winning three-pointer in a nationally televised game on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Some 13 years later, Garnett is still grinding away. Now a member of the Brooklyn Nets, he’s paid tribute to his late in 2000-01, in an emotional, stirring game that saw KG score 40 points as the Timberwolves won their 11th straight contest.