Brittney Griner pinpoints moment she broke into tears after Kim Mulkey’s Baylor jersey snub

Baylor retired Brittney Griner’s No. 42 jersey, but her old college basketball coach, Kim Mulkey, who left the school for LSU in 2021, did not attend the ceremony.

Brittney Griner cried during her Baylor jersey retirement ceremony that the team’s former college coach Kim Mulkey missed.

Former Baylor Bears player Brittney Griner reacts as her jersey is retired

Griner, 33, belatedly returned to the school that she spent four years at Sunday for the first time since completing her collegiate career in 2013.

The WNBA star saw her jersey raised to the rafters during a pre-game ceremony before the Bears’ game against Texas Tech.

She became the seventh Baylor women’s basketball player to receive the honor and the first since they started playing at the new Foster Pavilion.

Griner joins two of her former teammates, Melissa Jones and Odyssey Sims, in the rafters, the latter of whom she played with on the 2012 national championship-winning team.

Former Baylor Bears player Brittney Griner reacts as her jersey is retired

Mulkey coached that team to the title and attended Sims’ ceremony, albeit while coaching Baylor. She was also still at the school for the most recent retirement before Griner’s, for Nina Davis.

Despite her current team, LSU, being in College Station for their game Monday (Feb. 19) against Texas A&M, Mulkey did not make the 90-minute journey north to Waco. However, she did briefly address the event during a press conference last Thursday.

“It’s awesome,” Mulkey replied when asked about the jersey retirement. “That’s awesome. I bet it’ll be a great environment.”

Regardless, it was still an emotional occasion for Griner. “Just full of emotion,” she said during an interview on ESPN afterward. “As soon as [the jersey] started to go up, that’s when I started to break.”

Griner had not been back to campus in the 12 years since she left Baylor

“It just all came together at the right time. There’s always a plan, and you just got to trust in that plan. Griner continued: “It means everything [to me]. I suppose seen. You give so much to the school, and then for them to honor you, you just feel seen.

Reminiscing, she added: “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.”

Those “other things” included not discussing her sexuality publicly. “It was more of an unwritten law [to not discuss your sexuality] … it was just kind of, like, one of those things, you know, just don’t do it,” Griner said during an interview with ESPN The Magazine and espnW in 2013.

“They kind of tried to make it, like, ‘Why put your business out on the street like that?’ I told Coach [Mulkey] when she was recruiting me. I was like, ‘I’m gay. I hope that’s not a problem,’ and she told me that it wasn’t.

“I mean, my teammates knew; obviously they all knew. Everybody knew about it.”

Mulkey said in a statement at the time: “Brittney Griner represented Baylor University proudly on and off the basketball court, and she leaves behind an incredible legacy.

I cannot comment on personal matters surrounding any of our student-athletes, but I can tell you Brittney will always be a celebrated member of the Baylor family.”

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