Baylor University Retires Brittney Griner’s Jersey Number

Griner received the prestigious honor at a pregame ceremony on Sunday.

During a pregame ceremony held on campus, Baylor University honored Brittney Griner‘s remarkable contributions to sports by retiring her jersey number 42. This prestigious recognition is typically given to athletes after they have concluded their playing career, retired from professional sports, or passed away. Griner is now the seventh female basketball player from Baylor to receive this honor.

The jersey ascended to its place of honor in the newly inaugurated Foster Pavilion, Baylor’s home court since last month. During the pre-game festivities against Texas Tech, a compilation of career highlights from the basketball star, recognized as one of TIME 100’s most influential people, was showcased. The star athlete was visibly moved by the warm reception from Baylor fans, placing her hand over her heart in a gesture of gratitude and emotion.

“Just full of emotion,” Griner said via an in-game interview on ESPN. “As soon as [the jersey] started to go up, that’s when I started to break.”

At halftime of the ceremonial game, while Baylor students tried dunking like Griner, she joined in and excited the crowd with her own one-handed dunk.

Griner played for Baylor from 2009-2013. During the 2011-12 season, Griner played a pivotal role in Baylor’s undefeated 40-0 run to the national championship as a junior, earning the first of her back-to-back AP Player of the Year awards. Her last appearances on home court occurred in March 2013 during the initial rounds of the NCAA tournament at the Ferrell Center, where she showcased her talent by dunking three times in her final game.

Over her four-season career at Baylor, Griner, played 148 games, averaging 22.2 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 5.1 blocks per game. Her 3,283 points set a Big 12 record and placed her fifth in NCAA history, while her 748 blocks remain an NCAA record across both women’s and men’s basketball.

Nicki Collen, Baylor’s coach for the past three years, had expressed intentions to retire Griner’s No. 42 jersey early on. However, plans were put on hold due to Griner’s 11-month detention and imprisonment in Russia in 2022, from which she returned to the U.S. following a notable prisoner exchange.

“I’m honored to return home to Baylor and celebrate where so much of my journey started,” the athlete said via a statement. “I’m grateful to Coach Nicki [Collen] and the entire Baylor community and looking forward to the opportunity to be back on campus, spend time with the team and have my family beside me to share in this incredible moment. Sic ‘Em Bears.”

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