February 12, 2007
The University of Tennessee Athletics Department announced plans Monday to retire Bernard King's number. King's number will be retired in a special ceremony during halftime of Tuesday's game against the Kentucky Wildcats.
"Tennessee's basketball tradition has been built from great team performances, outstanding individual effort, inspired coaching and leadership and tremendous fan support," said Mike Hamilton, men's athletic director.
Last year, UTAD began developing criteria to retire numbers. Men's basketball candidates must have a minimum of five years between the candidate's UT basketball career and consideration of this honor. A candidate must have achieved two of the following four honors: candidate must be a first team All-America as recognized in the University of Tennessee basketball media guide, SEC player of the Year as recognized in the University of Tennessee basketball media guide, member of an Olympic basketball team or a member of the NBA or ABA All Star team.
"Saluting our history of championship teams, players and performances is vital to the continued success of any great program," said Hamilton. "UT has had a lot of outstanding athletes. We are constantly looking for new ways to recognize these men for their contributions to our program. This is one way we acknowledge all they have done, and continue to do, for the University."
Considered one of the best players in Southeastern Conference history, King donned the orange and white from 1974-77, earning first team All-America honors in each of his three seasons at Tennessee. A three-time SEC Player of the Year, he led the Vols to the 1977 SEC championship with a 22-6 overall record and a 16-2 mark in the league. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native finished his career ranking second all-time at UT with 1,962 career points and 1,004 rebounds. Following his junior season he was drafted in the first round (seventh overall selection) by the New Jersey Nets. During his 14-year career in the NBA he was a two-time first team All-NBA selection, four-time NBA All-Star and finished his career with a scoring average of 22.5 points per game.
King is remembered by many UT and SEC fans for his pairing with Ernie Grunfeld to comprise the "The Ernie and Bernie Show" -- one of the most powerful combinations in college basketball.
King is currently the only Vol basketball player to have his number retired; however, additional number retirements for both men's and women's basketball players will take place in subsequent seasons. The Lady Vols have already retired five numbers - No. 22 for Holly Warlick, No. 30 for Bridgette Gordon, No. 32 for Daedra Charles, No. 23 for Chamique Holdsclaw and No. 24 for Tamika Catchings.
Discussion is ongoing regarding visual recognition of the retired numbers and will be included in the Thompson-Boling Arena renovations.
LIMITED NUMBER OF TICKETS AVAILABLE; FANS ENCOURAGED TO ARRIVE EARLY AND WEAR ORANGE
The University of Tennessee Athletics Department announced Monday that a very limited number of tickets still remain for the men's game against Kentucky on Tuesday, Feb. 13. Tickets are available on the Internet at UTsports.com, over the phone by calling (865) 656-1200 or at the UT Ticket Office, located at Thompson-Boling Arena, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. EST.
With the anticipated crowd of more than 20,000 fans, UTAD is encouraging fans to arrive early and reminds fans that parking is limited for weekday games because of classes on campus. UTAD provides FREE parking at the Ag Campus off of Neyland Drive with FREE shuttle service to and from Thompson-Boling Arena. The KAT shuttle begins two hours prior to tip-off and runs one-hour post-game. Shuttle pickup on the Ag Campus is off of Joe Johnson Drive. The KAT shuttles are handicapped accessible. Limited individual game parking will be available for $5 on a first-come, first-served basis for all men's basketball games at the Soccer Complex off Leinard Lane.
Fans in attendance at Tuesday's game are encouraged to wear orange as part of UT's "Paint the Town Orange" promotion.