Three decades came, three decades passed, and yet Marlon Garnett was still the legend.
Hamilton’s known, as boys’ basketball coach Sterling Brown said, for being a performing-arts school. For decades, the basketball program has hovered in the balance between mediocre and average, the pendulum never swinging too far into the red or the green. Garnettthe sweet-shooting guard who played next to Steve Nash at Santa Clara, was the myth every Yankee aspired to make reality.
“He’s been that standard, because of hard work, for pretty much any player that’s played in the program,” Brown said.
Garnett’s No. 12 jersey was placed on display and a banner hung high in the Hamilton gym to honor the 1993 alumnus, a tribute video making clear his influence across the highest level of basketball. There was a “My guy!” from Nash, a “five-star person” from Rick Pitino, a “My boy Marlon!” from Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker.
Garnett’s the first player in Hamilton High boys’ basketball history to have his jersey retired.
“It was long overdue,” said Susan Bringas, a member of the alumni association at Hamilton.
After a successful overseas career, Garnett moved into a video coordinator role with the San Antonio Spurs, then moved into a player development position with the Suns and assistant coaching positions with the Atlanta Hawks and, currently, Charlotte Hornets. He’s worked directly with Booker, Trae Young and LaMelo Ball, all of whom offered smiles and congratulatory words in the Thursday tribute.
As the Yankees watched the celebration before a 55-51 loss to South Gate, it was an important moment for the program, Brown said, to see the heights Hamilton players could reach.
“Being able to see what he did,” Brown said, “ just really, finally solidified it for all of us.”
Who might be the next former Hamilton star to have his jersey retired? Alumni association members said former UCLA and NBA All-Star forward Sidney Wicks, whom Garnett gave a shout-out to Thursday, will be contacted next.