UC Irvine retired the No. 12 jersey of former basketball star Scott Brooks at halftime of Saturday evening’s 77-56 victory over Eastern Michigan at Bren Events Center.
“I am honored and humbled and overwhelmed. I have so much gratitude for all the people that looked out after me, starting with my mom, my high school coach, family, my wife and kids, my teammates, coach Mulligan,” Brooks told the crowd announced at 2,813, referring to his coach at UC Irvine, Bill Mulligan.
“There’s just so many amazing things that happened to my life and sometimes you ask yourself, `Why? Why me?’ Looking back and reflecting on it, the why is because of the people that I have around me that made me the person I am today, put me in the position I’m in now.”
The number was the second retired by the UC Irvine men’s basketball program. The other was Kevin Magee’s No. 44, which was retired in 1995. The only other athletic number at UC Irvine to be retired was former baseball coach Mike Gillespie’s No. 19, which was retired last year.
Brooks, now the Washington Wizards coach, said he wore No. 12 because it was his mother Lee’s favorite number.
Brooks transferred to UC Irvine in 1985 from San Joaquin Delta College, a community college in Stockton. He averaged 16.8 points per game in his two seasons with the Anteaters, including 23.8 points per game as a senior, the most of any player on the West Coast.
Brooks scored 43 points on the opening night of the Bren Events Center, a 118-96 victory over Utah State on Jan. 8, 1987, still the most by a UC Irvine player at the arena and the second-most in school history, behind Magee’s 46 in a Dec. 15, 1981 game against Loyola Marymount.
He played 10 seasons in the NBA, including on the Houston Rockets’ 1994 championship team.
He was selected as the NBA’s coach of the year in the 2009-10 season when he guided the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 50-32 record in his first full season as coach, winning 28 more games than the previous season.
Brooks coached the Thunder to the 2012 NBA Finals, where they lost to the Miami Heat.
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