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'Really emotional day': Damo's No.53 retired in special ceremony

05 Feb
2 mins read

Written By

Jordan McArdle

An emotional Damian Martin officially became a Perth Wildcats legend on Sunday as his No.53 jersey hung in the RAC Arena rafters in front of thousands of adoring fans.

Ricky Grace fittingly welcomed Martin to the jersey retirement club in a comical speech after he became the eighth Wildcat to receive the prestigious honour, joining Grace, Mike Ellis, Andrew Vlahov, Shawn Redhage, James Crawford, Scott Fisher and the late Scott Fenton.

Grace, Ellis, Vlahov and last year's jersey retiree Shawn Redhage were all in attendance, as were several of the six-time NBL champions former teammates including Greg Hire and current skipper Jesse Wagstaff who shared stories of their great friend's career.

Former coach Rob Beveridge, who lured Martin to the Wildcats, made a whirlwind trip from Indonesia to speak at the post-game ceremony.

Video tributes came in from around the world including five-time championship coach Trevor Gleeson, who recorded his message at the Milwaukee Bucks’ shootaround.

Australian Boomers and NBA star Joe Ingles made a cameo appearance in former Perth lead assistant coach Matt Nielsen’s tribute after the video was shot shortly after San Antonio’s loss to Orlando.

Martin couldn't wipe the trademark smile off his face when he jersey was unfurling alongside his parents, siblings, wife Brittany and three children.

"It's a really emotional day, I'm a nervous wreck," Martin said during his speech.

"It means the world to me to have my jersey up there because this club and this city mean the world to me.”

Damian Martin's career honours

6x NBL champion (2010, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020)

6x NBL Best Defensive Player (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018)

1x Larry Sengstock Medal (2016)

All-NBL First Team (2011)

All-NBL Second Team (2013, 2014)

All-NBL Third Team (2012)

Commonwealth Games gold medal (2018)

Olympic representative (2016)

Wildcats captain (2012-2020)

342 NBL games (310 for Wildcats)

 

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