LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett is calling time on his NBA career after 21 seasons, posting a video on Instagram saying ‘‘farewell’’ and ‘‘thank you’’ to fans who have backed him since 1995.
Garnett posted the video on Friday amid reports he and the Timberwolves had reached a deal on a buyout of his $8 million contract for the upcoming season.
The 40-year-old departs as the most productive player in the history of the Timberwolves, where he spent 13 1/2 of his 21 seasons.
‘‘I’m just thankful. I can’t even put that into words,’’ Garnett says in the moody video that shows him alone in Minnesota’s Target Center arena.
‘‘I’m just thankful. I’m just thankful for everybody and the love. I never would have thought that people love me like this,’’ he adds in the video, which ends with the words ‘‘Farewell’’ and ‘‘Thank you for the journey’’ on the screen.
Garnett was drafted out of high school in 1995 and became one of the top power forwards in league history, helping make the long-suffering Timberwolves into playoff contenders.
He was the first player in two decades to go straight from high school to the NBA, and his success paved the way for similar moves by Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Tracy McGrady.
In departing he follows long tenured veterans Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan out of the NBA.
The 15-time All-Star ranks 17th with 26,071 career points, ninth in career rebounds with 14,662 and 17th in blocked shots with 2,037 and was the league Most Valuable Player in 2004.