Women's National Basketball Association
Brittney Griner's No. 42 jersey retired by Baylor
Women's National Basketball Association

Brittney Griner's No. 42 jersey retired by Baylor

Published Feb. 18, 2024 7:10 p.m. ET

Brittney Griner's No. 42 jersey was retired by Baylor on Sunday, when the two-time AP national player of the year and career blocks leader attended a Bears home game for the first time since her senior season 11 years ago. 

The standout center even did an impromptu slam dunk.

Griner was part of Baylor's 40-0 national championship team as a junior during the 2011-12 season, the first of her consecutive AP player of the year awards. Her final home games were when the Bears won in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament at the Ferrell Center on campus in March 2013, including three dunks in her final game there, before losing the following weekend to Louisville in the Sweet 16.

The jersey was raised to the rafters in the new Foster Pavilion, where Baylor began playing last month. The ceremony before a game against Texas Tech included video highlights from her career. 


Griner was visibly touched by the reaction from the Baylor fans, waving at them and patting her heart though she didn't address the crowd.

"Just full of emotion," Griner said during an in-game interview on the ESPN broadcast. "As soon as (the jersey) started to go up, that’s when I started to break."

Griner said it meant everything to be honored and appreciated by the school that she gave so much to during her time there. She completed her Baylor degree in 2019.

When Baylor students were taking part in a halftime contest to dunk like Griner, she came onto the court and delighted the crowd with a one-handed dunk of her own.

Baylor won the game 61-32.

In 148 games over four seasons with Baylor, the 6-foot-8 center averaged 22.2 points, 8.8 rebounds and 5.1 blocked shots per game. 

Griner's 3,283 total points are a Big 12 record and fifth on the NCAA career list, and her 748 blocks still stand as an NCAA record for women or men.

Nicki Collen had said since becoming Baylor's coach three years ago that she wanted to retire the No. 42 jersey.

That was delayed when Griner was detained and imprisoned in Russia for 11 months in 2022 before she came back to the U.S. in a high-profile prisoner swap.

Before Sunday's game, Collen said she pushed for that because she believed it was right for the program and Griner.

Collen wore a gold blazer with No. 42 prominent on the back. The jacket also had many of Griner's accomplishments stitched on the sleeves.

Griner's coach at Baylor was Kim Mulkey, who won three national titles in her 21 seasons with the Bears before returning to her home state as LSU's coach in April 2021.

"I think it's awesome," Mulkey said Saturday, when asked about Griner's jersey being retired by Baylor.

No one has worn No. 42 for Baylor since Griner finished her college career.

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When asked during the ESPN interview what she remembers most fondly from her time at Baylor, she said it was the moments she spent with teammates and fans.

"When you look back at it, you start to forget about the stats. You just remember the wins, and you remember all the other things," Griner said.

Phoenix selected Griner with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 WNBA draft, and she has been a six-time All-Star while spending her entire career with the Mercury. She is also a two-time Olympic gold medalist.

It is the seventh women's basketball jersey retired by Baylor, the others being Odyssey Sims, Melissa Jones, Nina Davis, Suzie Snider Eppers, Shelia Lambert and Sophia Young. Griner was teammates with Sims and Jones.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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