MILWAUKEE -- Hamilton High School retired Kevon Looney’s No. 5 jersey Thursday in a ceremony on the court where he was a four-year letterman for the Wildcats. The whole Golden State Warriors team came to celebrate.
Looney is one of the best players of all time to come out of Milwaukee. He averaged 27.9 points, 12.7 rebounds, 8.0 blocks and 7.0 assists per game during his senior year.
The festivities started in the high school library, where about 100 kids packed in for a Q&A session. Looney told the students he graduated with a 3.4 GPA and finished sixth in his class. A student asked, “Who is your favorite teacher?” and Looney pointed at the P.E. teacher, Jeff Hogan.
“My claim to fame is I taught him how to swim,” Hogan said. “He got in the pool, it wasn’t happening, but all of a sudden he stuck with it, and by the end, he was like a porpoise. He was just in there, strokin’ away.”
There’s a pool on Hamilton’s campus. The facilities are “half gym, half swim,” said Hogan, who taught Looney how to swim during his freshman year.
“He would not put his face in the water,” Hogan continued. “And with how tall he was, that was really a challenge.”
Looney posed for pictures with students, and looked at old pictures in Hamilton yearbooks.
Looney was the junior year prom king. He wasn’t planning on going that year, but friends convinced him.
“I actually have the crown at home,” Looney said.
The celebration moved to the Wildcats’ gymnasium, where cheerleaders performed and Warriors coach Steve Kerr spoke to the students.
Kerr noted how surreal it was to remember Looney was playing in this gym just four years ago. Now he’s an NBA champion.
Looney addressed the students and beamed with love for school. He described how much he enjoys coming back to Milwaukee and shared how grateful he is to live his dream as a pro basketball player.
Looney autographed his green and yellow Wildcats jersey and held it up for pictures, his smile as big as his wingspan. Local TV crews rushed over to ask questions, surrounding him in a scrum of cameras and microphones.
As the rest of the Warriors filed out to the team bus, Looney lingered to talk some more. His girlfriend, Mariah Winston, hung back to take more pictures. She said she felt his happiness all day.
“He was telling me all of his memories and how he used to walk the campus halls with his team,” Winston said. "I know he was excited to be here. To be able to come back and retire a jersey, a number, is a dream come true."