Baylor Honors Brittney Griner with No. 42 Jersey Retirement

Baylor University has retired Brittney Griner’s No. 42 jersey, after she was named AP national player of the year twice. Griner performed a surprise slam dunk during a Bears home game for the first time since her final year, 11 years ago.

Griner’s jersey was raised to the rafters in the new Foster Pavilion, where Baylor resumed play last month. The homage before a game against Texas Tech featured video highlights of her career. Griner did not address the crowd, but she was visibly moved by the Baylor supporters’ reaction, waving at them and patting her heart.

“Just filled with feeling. During an in-game interview with ESPN, Griner stated, “When the jersey went up, that’s when I started to break.”

Griner said it meant everything to be honored and appreciated by the institution to which she devoted so much time. ESPN reports that the excellent player was a junior on Baylor’s 40-0 national championship team in 2011-12, earning her first of two consecutive AP Player of the Year awards.

Her final home games were in March 2013, when the Bears won the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament at the Ferrell Center on campus, with three dunks in her final game there. Griner received her Baylor degree in 2019.

Nicki Collen, Baylor’s head coach for three years, has indicated her wish to retire the No. 42 jersey. Griner was arrested and imprisoned in Russia for 11 months in 2022 before returning to the United States in a high-profile prisoner exchange.

Collen stated that she campaigned for this prior to Sunday’s game because she believed it was appropriate for Griner and the program.

Griner averaged 22.2 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 5.1 blocked shots over 148 games during her four seasons at Baylor. With 3,283 points, the 6-foot-8 center sits fifth on the NCAA career scoring list and establishes a Big 12 record. Her 748 blocks remain an NCAA record for both male and female players.

During her tenure at Baylor, the most memorable moments for her were with teammates and supporters.

“When you look back on it, you begin to forget about the statistics. Griner stated, “You just remember the wins and everything else.”

Griner is a six-time All-Star for the Phoenix Mercury, who selected her first overall in the 2013 WNBA draft. She holds two Olympic gold medals.

Griner was sentenced to nine years in jail in August 2022 for narcotics smuggling after allegedly having hash oil in her suitcase.

Griner rejoined the Mercury two months after being released, on December 8, 2022. Last year, the WNBA player returned to Texas to play for the first time since being arrested in Russia. Griner finished with 24 points and four rebounds in her return game against the Dallas Wings.

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