Jason McElwain is already a legend. The former Greece-Athena (N.Y.) High basketball manager who suffers from autism is universally known by his J-Mac nickname, and his single game highlight reel has become synonymous with inspirational stories in prep sports.
Now, McElwain’s jersey -- which he wore for just one game -- will be retired by his alma mater, memorializing one of the more special nights in the past decade of prep basketball.
On Feb. 15, 2006, J-Mac, who had served as the team’s student manager for multiple years, was inserted into the final four minutes of his team’s Senior Night game against Spencerport (N.Y.) High. He miraculously scored 20 points and hit a school record six three-pointers in a performance that eventually earned ESPY honors as the year’s best sports moment.
In that game, McElwain wore the number 52 jersey. No one has worn that number since, and now they never will again.
According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, McElwain’s response to being told his jersey would be retired by the school was precisely what one would expect.
“He’s pretty pumped, and that’s probably an understatement,” Greece-Athena head basketball coach Jim Johnson told the Democrat and Chronicle.
As it turns out, McElwain isn’t the first Greece-Athena player to have his jersey retired, though it does put him in lofty company. Former Syracuse legend John Wallace, who led the Orange to the Final Four, has also had his jersey number retired and displayed outside the school’s gymnasium.
“To be next to the great John Wallace… that team was just unbelievable,” McElwain said.
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