A Lofty Honor for Ainge - Y Magazine
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BYU Today

A Lofty Honor for Ainge

Danny Ainge

BYU’s all-time scoring leader, Danny Ainge, enjoys his jersey retirement ceremonies with family, friends, former teammates, coaches, and BYU dignitaries.

THE men’s basketball team was only halfway to a victory over Colorado State and a share of the Mountain West Conference championship on March 8 when the celebration began. To add to his memorable moments in the Marriott Center, Cougar great Danny Ainge, ’92, stepped onto the court and saw his No. 22 jersey hoisted to a permanent position in the rafters. Ainge is the first BYUmen’s basketball player to have his jersey retired. 

“It’s just a great honor,” Ainge said to the capacity crowd. “BYU was the greatest time of my life. It’s just great to be a part of BYU basketball. I don’t know why mine is the first to go up. There were a lot of great players before me. Hopefully, this is just the start.” 

During his four years as a Cougar (1978–81), Ainge was a consensus All-American, a two-time First Team Academic All-American, the WAC Player of the Year, and a four-time All-WAC selection. He set an NCAA record with 112 consecutive games scoring in double digits and broke the BYU and WAC all-time scoring records with 2,467 points—before the three-point era. 

As a senior in 1981, Ainge led BYU to the NCAA Elite Eight at the eastern regional in Atlanta. He concluded the season by winning the Eastman Award and the John Wooden Award, given annually to the top collegiate basketball player in the nation. 

In the NBA Ainge was a member of the Celtics’ 1984 and 1986 championship teams and played in six NBA finals with three different teams. 

In his three years as head coach of the Phoenix Suns, Ainge had a mark of 123-83 (.597) with three NBA playoff appearances. He currently works with Turner Broadcasting as an NBA analyst. 

“We are recognizing the accomplishments of people who have helped create an excellent basketball tradition at BYU,” says head basketball coach Steve Cleveland. “Obviously, Danny’s impact on the program has been significant. It is great to see his jersey hanging in the Marriott Center.”