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Legendary former captain Martin's No.53 jersey to be retired

20 Nov
3 mins read

Written By

Jordan McArdle

The Perth Wildcats are proud to announce legendary former captain Damian Martin’s No.53 jersey will be immortalised at RAC Arena.

The six-time NBL championship winner retired at the end of the 2019-20 season after representing the Wildcats for 310 games which is the sixth-most in the club’s history.

Rated among the most courageous players to ever play the game, Martin defied several nasty injuries to win a record-equalling amount of NBL titles.

He also won the NBL’s Best Defensive Player honour, now named after him, a record six times to go with the 2015-16 grand final MVP award and All-NBL First Team selection in 2010-11.

Martin’s decorated NBL career started at West Sydney Razorbacks/Sydney Spirit before he joined the Wildcats ahead of the 2009-10 season, playing 11 years and becoming one of the club’s most popular and respected players and leaders.

He also represented Australia at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. 

Martin’s jersey will be the eighth number retired by the club, joining fellow greats Ricky Grace (No. 15), Andrew Vlahov (21), James Crawford (7), Scott Fisher (30), Mike Ellis (6), Shawn Redhage (42) and Scott Fenton (14) who was tragically killed in a car accident in 1989 while playing for the Wildcats.

The official banner-raising ceremony will take place during the February 4 clash against New Zealand at RAC Arena as part of the club’s Retro Round.

The news was revealed to Martin by Redhage, a member of the Wildcats’ jersey retirement committee who has his own jersey hanging in the rafters of RAC Arena as of last season, live on-air during Martin’s SENWA show The Run Home with Hase and Marto on Monday afternoon.

“I’m actually tearing up a little not. I’m blown away,” Martin said.

“The club means so much to me. Some of the best years of my life were out on that court playing for that team. I’m speechless. I’m completely shocked. I had no idea this was coming. I’m overwhelmed.

“When I signed with the Wildcats I thought I’d be there for three years and I’ll get back east to be with my siblings and mum and dad, closer to home.

“This is a moment I’ll never forget. It means the world to me. I don’t know how to put into words what 11, 12, 13 years at the Wildcats did for our lives, the moments I’ve shared with teammates - I’ve said it a million times but you play team sport for rings and relationships that go beyond the basketball court. It includes this family, Shawn’s family, Jesse (Wagstaff), Greg (HIre), Robbo (Brad Robbins) - you know it they’re all part of it.”


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