Kent Bazemore reflects on his jersey being retired at ODU

NORFOLK (WAVY) — This past Saturday night, Old Dominion dropped a heart breaker to its old rivals VCU. At halftime however,  the fans had plenty to cheer about.

Kent Bazemore’s number 24 retired to the rafters as part of ODU’s prestigious ring of honor.

“Kobe Bryant just retired, that’s another 24 gone,” Bazemore said. “I was KB 24 before he was.”

Known for his stifling defense and high flying dunks, Bazemore is not only one of ODU’s all time-great players, he’s also one of the most popular players in program history.

“It’s not like I averaged 30 points a night, they love for more of the person that I was,” Bazemore said. “More than athletics, they thought enough of me as a human being to put my jersey in the rafters, they know how monumental a night this was for me personally.”

Now 27-years-old and with a wedding planned for the summer, Bazemore also gives back to the University. Last year he made a sizeable donation to help fund ODU’s new basketball practice facility.

“That donation, I can’t even start to repay financial-wise what this university has done for me,” said Bazemore. The five years I was here I got two degrees, played in two NCAA tournaments, got two conference championships, I saw it all.”

This summer, Bazemore signed a $70 million contract to stay with the Atlanta Hawks. He says he’s saving his money but that big contract also means rising up to a certain standard.

“The NBA from the outside is glitz and glamour, they don’t know the everyday stresses that goes on with that responsibility, you get paid all this money, you have to meet such a criteria every night.”

Now the pressure is on Bazemore and the Hawks to make another run in the NBA playoffs.