Posts Tagged ‘Jersey Retirement’

The Los Angeles Lakers are retiring George Mikan’s No. 99 jersey on Oct. 30 against the Denver Nuggets, the team announced Wednesday.

Mikan played seven seasons for the then-Minneapolis Lakers, leading the club to their first five titles in franchise history. The Hall of Famer earned six All-NBA first-team selections, four All-Star nods, three scoring titles, and one MVP award during his illustrious career.

Mikan averaged 23.1 points, 13.4 boards, and 2.8 assists over 439 appearances with the Lakers. He remains the organization’s all-time single-season leader in win shares (23.4) and ranks seventh in total free-throw attempts (3,924).

Mikan revolutionized the game with his two-way play. His ability to score with either hand using the hook shot resulted in the famous Mikan Drill. He also popularized the underhanded free-throw shooting technique.

Before turning pro, Mikan starred at the collegiate level for DePaul, where he was a three-time consensus All-American first-team selection.

The 6-foot-10 center was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history in 1996 and selected to the Association’s 75th Anniversary Team earlier this year.

“Big Z” is finally hanging up his skates.

Veteran defenseman Zdeno Chara announced his retirement Tuesday after 24 seasons in the NHL. The 45-year-old will sign a one-day contract later Tuesday to retire as a member of the Boston Bruins, his team for 14 seasons.

The Bruins saluted Chara following his announcement:

“When I started playing hockey as a young boy, I never imagined to be one day sitting at a press conference after playing in the NHL for 25 years,” he said during his retirement press conference on Tuesday. “This all feels surreal.

“I know I can walk away from the game with gratitude, honor, and pride. I’m not walking completely away from the game, but now it’s time I walk along (with) my family.”

Patrice Bergeron succeeded Chara as captain of the Bruins, and the veteran forward reflected on how his longtime teammate impacted the organization.

“His competitive drive, the way that he prepared, practices for games, in the gym, his focus, I learned from all of that,” Bergeron said, according to’s Amalie Benjamin. “It was a privilege to be a part of it. It was also a privilege for me at a young age to learn from him. He had a great impact. … It’s been an honor to be with him.”

Bruins president Cam Neely said the club plans to retire Chara’s No. 33, though no date has yet been determined, according to 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Ty Anderson.

Chara, who also spent time with the New York IslandersOttawa Senators, and Washington Capitals, retires as the all-time leader in games played by a defenseman (1,680) and sits seventh on the all-time list. The 2008-09 Norris Trophy winner tallied 209 goals and 680 points over his career and was named to seven postseason All-Star teams.

Originally drafted 56th overall by the Islanders in 1996, Chara spent his first four seasons on Long Island before joining the Senators in 2001 as part of the infamous Alexei Yashin trade. He broke out as an impact blue-liner in Ottawa, helping lead the Sens to one conference finals appearance over four seasons in Canada’s capital.

But Chara truly left his mark on the NHL after signing with the Bruins as a free agent in 2006. Boston’s captain for all 14 of his seasons with the club, Chara led the Bruins to three Stanley Cup Finals appearances, including the 2011 win that snapped the franchise’s 39-year drought. One of only three blue-liners to play over 1,000 games with the Bruins, he ranks top five among Bruins defensemen in goals, assists, points, power-play goals, and game-winning goals.

Chara left Boston for a one-year stint with the Capitals in 2021 before returning to the Islanders for a final season. Even at age 45, he made an impact on the ice, registering 14 points in 72 games and scoring a goal in his final contest.

Internationally, the native of Trencin, Slovakia (formerly Czechoslovakia), goes down as one of his country’s most decorated athletes. Chara represented Slovakia on the international stage 10 times and led it to silver medals at the World Championships in 2000 and 2010. He also served as the nation’s flag bearer at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The 6-foot-9 blue-liner was the tallest player in NHL history and until Tuesday was the oldest active player in North America’s major professional sports leagues. His retirement makes Joe Thornton, who’s currently a free agent, the last active athlete in North American pro sports to have played in the 1990s.

The “Immaculate Reception” will live on forever in Pittsburgh. Now too, will the number of the author of the most iconic play in NFL history.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will retire Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris’ No. 32 on Christmas Eve, 50 years and one day after he plucked the ball out of the air and raced down the sideline to the end zone to pull out a stunning playoff victory over the Oakland Raiders.

The honor marks the third time in franchise history the Steelers will retire a number. They previously retired the No. 75 of Hall of Fame defensive tackle Joe Greene and the No. 70 of Hall of Fame defensive tackle Ernie Stautner.

“It’s about time they had an offensive guy on the list,” Harris said with a laugh on Tuesday.

Harris spent all but one of his 13 seasons in the NFL in Pittsburgh, arriving as a rookie out of Penn State in 1972 to a team attempting to escape decades of mediocrity. The Steelers reached the 1972 playoffs thanks in part to Harris’ 1,055 yards rushing, but found themselves trailing 7-6 in the waning seconds and facing fourth-and-10 at the Pittsburgh 40 with just 22 seconds to go.

Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw let loose a desperate heave in the direction of running back Frenchy Fuqua. The ball caromed off Oakland defensive back Jack Tatum and appeared to be fluttering incomplete before Harris grabbed it inches before hitting the turf. He then took off down the sideline to complete a 60-yard touchdown that sealed a 13-7 win and set off chaos at Three Rivers Stadium.

While Harris ran for 12,120 yards and won four Super Bowls, he knows he is forever linked to the play that turned the fortunes of a franchise forever. Pittsburgh had never won a playoff game before Harris sprinted into NFL lore. The Steelers now have six Super Bowl titles, tied with New England for the most in league history.

“The ‘Immaculate Reception’ marked the turning point in franchise history,” Steelers president Art Rooney II said. “My grandfather (Art Rooney Sr.) used to always say, ‘We never won until Franco got here. We never lost after he arrived.’”

There will be two ceremonies to honor Harris. One will be at exactly 3:29 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 23 at the plaque at the spot in now-bygone Three Rivers Stadium where Harris caught the ball. The other will be a ceremony at halftime of Pittsburgh’s Christmas Eve game against the Raiders, now based in Las Vegas.

The Steelers will wear a patch commemorating the play during the game and don throwback jerseys the team wore during the 1972 season.

All because Harris saw a ball in the air and remembered the advice of his college coach, Joe Paterno.

“Play to the end,” Harris said. “Never give up. Believe things can happen … and always go to the ball.”

The Houston Rockets will retire Elvin Hayes’ No. 44 during halftime of their contest against the Indiana Pacers on Nov. 18, team owner Tilman Fertitta announced Wednesday.

The Rockets will be debuting their Classic Edition jerseys that same evening. The uniforms pay tribute to the franchise’s brief time in San Diego, where Hayes played during part of his tenure with the organization.

Hayes starred at the collegiate level for the Houston Cougars before going first overall to the Rockets in the 1968 NBA Draft.

“We are thrilled to celebrate Elvin Hayes’ stellar career by retiring his jersey,” Fertitta said in a statement. “Elvin was the original basketball superstar in the city of Houston and has a lasting legacy with not only the NBA and the Rockets, but the University of Houston as well.

“We’re excited to honor Elvin and his family this November and see his jersey hang where it belongs, alongside the other legends from our franchise’s storied history.”

Hayes becomes the seventh player in Rockets history to have their jersey retired. The Hall of Fame big man spent seven of his 16 NBA seasons with the club, averaging 20.6 points, 12.2 boards, and 1.9 assists over 572 appearances. He’s second on the team’s all-time list in rebounds (6,974), fifth in total points (11,762), and sixth in free throws made (2,310).

Hayes captured his first and only scoring title during his rookie campaign in San Diego. The 12-time All-Star led the Association in rebounding the following season. He was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history in 1996 and selected to the league’s 75th-anniversary team.

“Representing the Rockets and the city of Houston has meant so much to me throughout my life,” Hayes said in a statement. “Knowing that my number will stand with the other great players in franchise history is truly an honor.”

The Los Angeles Lakers will retire Pau Gasol’s No. 16 jersey on March 7, 2023, in a game against the Memphis Grizzlies, the team announced Wednesday.

Gasol played with the purple and gold from 2008-14, earning three straight All-Star nods and helping the franchise win championships in 2009 and ’10. He made third-team All-NBA in those seasons and second-team in 2011.

The Spaniard started his career with the Grizzlies, helping the franchise make the playoffs for the first time in 2004.

Gasol ranks ninth in both rebounds and blocks and 10th in triple-doubles in Lakers franchise history. He’s also recorded the club’s ninth-highest field-goal percentage ever.

After his tenure in L.A., he played for the Chicago BullsSan Antonio Spurs, and Milwaukee Bucks before officially retiring in 2021.

Gasol averaged 17.7 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks across 429 games with the Lakers.

Bill Russell’s No. 6 jersey is being retired across the NBA, a first for the league.

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association announced Thursday that the number worn by the 11-time champion, civil rights activist and person good enough to have been enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach was being permanently retired by all 30 teams.

“Bill Russell’s unparalleled success on the court and pioneering civil rights activism deserve to be honored in a unique and historic way,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “Permanently retiring his No. 6 across every NBA team ensures that Bill’s transcendent career will always be recognized.”

Players who currently wear No. 6 — including the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James — may continue doing so. But the number cannot be issued again, the league said.

All NBA players will wear a patch on the right shoulder of their jerseys this season, the league said, and every NBA court will display a clover-shaped logo with the No. 6 on the sideline near the scorer’s table.

The Boston Celtics have “separate and unique recognition for him on their uniforms” planned, the NBA said.

Russell died on July 31 at the age of 88. He was the most prolific winner in NBA history, an 11-time champion during a 13-year career — winning the last two of those titles as a player-coach — and the first Black coach in any of the major U.S. pro sports to win a championship.

He marched with Martin Luther King Jr., stood with Muhammad Ali and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

And having his number retired leaguewide puts him in a very exclusive club.

Major League Baseball permanently retired No. 42 — in honor of Jackie Robinson, who broke the big league’s color barrier — with the understanding that those who were wearing that number could continue to do so. Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees was the last in the majors to wear No. 42, doing so through his final season in 2013.

The NHL, upon Wayne Gretzky’s retirement in 1999, said his No. 99 would be retired leaguewide in honor of that sport’s all-time scoring leader.

And now, Russell gets the same treatment. It also seems fitting that he and Robinson — both barrier-breakers — are linked again. Russell called Robinson a hero, once saying that “he showed me the way to be a man in professional sports.”

Robinson, clearly, held Russell in high esteem as well. Rachel Robinson, his widow, asked Russell to be a pallbearer at her husband’s funeral in 1972.

“This is a momentous honor reserved for one of the greatest champions to ever play the game,” NBPA Executive Director Tamika Tremaglio said. “Bill’s actions on and off the court throughout the course of his life helped to shape generations of players for the better and for that, we are forever grateful. We are proud to continue the celebration of his life and legacy alongside the league.”

There have been more than 250 players in NBA history to wear a No. 6 jersey, including 24 who did so in at least one game last season — most notably, James, who has alternated between 6 and 23 throughout his NBA career.

Nobody has worn No. 6 for the Celtics since Russell’s final season, 1968-69.

Russell is one of 12 players currently enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame who wore No. 6 at at least some point in their careers. The others: Julius Erving, Patrick Ewing, Ben Wallace, Don Barksdale, Chuck Cooper, Larry Costello, Tom Gola, Cliff Hagan, Alex Hannum, Buddy Jeanette and Neil Johnston.

Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson believes the best way to honor the late Bill Russell is to retire his No. 6 jersey league-wide.

While the NBA has never done such a thing for a player, it’s not entirely unknown.

Major League Baseball paid homage to Jackie Robinson by permanently retiring the African-American’s number 25 years after his death.

Robinson’s widow, Rachel, asked Russell to be a pallbearer at her husband’s funeral as he was Jackie’s favorite athlete.

Both Russell’s and Robinson’s legacy extended beyond their respective field of play. The Boston Celtics icon was a champion of activism long before his Hall of Fame career as a player and coach.

In 2011, Russell was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Barack Obama.

“In every generation people make a difference not only with their play, but also with their persona,” Lakers great Jerry West recently told Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times. “Bill Russell and Jackie Robinson were in that same class.”

The San Jose Sharks will retire Patrick Marleau’s No. 12 prior to the club’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 25, the team announced Thursday.

Marleau will be the first player in franchise history to receive the honor.

“As a little boy skating on a frozen pond, my dream was to play in the NHL,” Marleau said. “Never could I have imagined the honor of my jersey hanging in the rafters above the very ice that I played so many of my NHL games on.

“I cannot begin to describe the way I feel. I am truly grateful and thankful for this recognition, but also for being able to play in front of the great San Jose Sharks fans for so long. I’ll miss doing so for the rest of my life. Thank you to the Sharks organization, my teammates throughout my career, and especially the fans for this honor of a lifetime.”

Marleau didn’t play during the 2021-22 season and officially announced his retirement in May. He finished his 23-year career as the NHL’s all-time game’s played leader (1,779) while racking up 566 goals and 631 assists.

San Jose drafted Marleau second overall in 1997. He spent 21 years with the organization and is their all-time leader in goals and points. The Saskatchewan native also registered 127 points in 195 playoff games with the Sharks, reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2016.

Marleau played two seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs and eight games with the Pittsburgh Penguins before returning to the Bay Area for his final campaign in 2020-21.

Dustin Brown is getting some serious star treatment.

The Los Angeles Kings will retire the former NHL winger’s number and unveil a statue in his honor during a ceremony on Feb. 11 at Arena, they announced Tuesday.

Brown’s No. 23 will be the seventh number in franchise history to reach the rafters, joining those of Rogie Vachon, Marcel Dionne, Dave Taylor, Wayne Gretzky, Luc Robitaille, and Rob Blake.

He’ll become the third Kings player to have a statue outside Arena, after Gretzky and Robitaille.

Brown played his last game May 14 as the Edmonton Oilers eliminated Los Angeles in the first round of the postseason.

The 37-year-old spent his entire 18-season NHL career with the Kings since being drafted 13th overall in 2003. He captained the squad to Stanley Cup victories in 2012 and 2014, making him the only American player in NHL history to accomplish the feat.

“Having my number retired is something I never imagined and is a humbling honor,” Brown said. “I am incredibly proud that I played for the LA Kings my entire career. With my number going to the rafters, I am honored to be amongst the King greats, but it makes me think of the two banners already in the rafters, of which I am most proud.

“It took numerous people to raise those two banners; the same is true for this one. Thank you to all who have helped me achieve my dreams.”

The New York native is the franchise’s leader in games played (1,296) and ranks sixth in goals (325), eighth in assists (387), and seventh in points (712).

He tacked on 19 goals and 30 assists in 92 career playoff contests, including a combined 34 points in 46 games en route to the Kings’ pair of Stanley Cup victories.

Brown served as Los Angeles’ captain from 2008-09 to 2015-16.

The Buffalo Sabres will raise Ryan Miller’s No. 30 to the rafters in 2022-23.

Miller spent more than the first decade of his career with the Sabres before retiring as a member of the Anaheim Ducks following the 2021 campaign.

The Michigan-born former goaltender will join Hockey Hall of Famer Dominik Hasek as the only two netminders in franchise history to have their number retired.

Miller is the Sabres’ all-time leader in games played at the position (540), wins (284), and saves (14,847). He’s tied with Robin Lehner for second on the team in save percentage (.916) among those who played at least 30 games.

The 18-year veteran, who’ll turn 42 in July, is the winningest U.S.-born goalie in NHL history (391) and the all-time leader in games played by an American puck-stopper (796).

Miller helped the Sabres make back-to-back conference final appearances in 2005-06 (his first full season) and 2006-07. He won the Vezina Trophy with the club in 2009-10 after going 41-18-8 with a .929 save percentage in 69 contests.

The netminder was also phenomenal for the U.S. at the 2010 Olympic Games, posting a .946 save percentage and leading the Americans to the gold medal game, which they lost to Canada in overtime.

Buffalo has retired seven players’ numbers:

Tim Horton2
Rick Martin7
Gilbert Perreault11
Rene Robert14
Pat LaFontaine16
Danny Gare18
Dominik Hasek39

The Sabres raised Hasek’s jersey to the rafters in 2015.