Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball: UW set to retire Michael Finley’s number on Sunday
Sunday afternoon at halftime of Wisconsin’s men’s basketball game against the Michigan Wolverines, UW legend Michael Finley will have his number retired. Finley’s No. 24 will become the third men’s basketball jersey to hang in the Kohl Center rafters alongside Ab Nicholas’ No. 8 and Frank Kaminsky’s No. 44. It’s important to remember that No. 24 will remain in circulation in Wisconsin, but Finley’s name and number will forever be celebrated.
“Michael Finley’s impact on Wisconsin basketball is as profound as any athlete we’ve had and I’m thrilled we can honor him by retiring his jersey,” said athletic director Chris McIntosh. . “Finley’s fingerprints are all over our program’s relaunch in the 1990s, and his legacy lives on in the incredible success we’ve enjoyed over the past 30 years. Finley has spent his life serving as an incredible ambassador not only for Badger basketball, but for our university in general. We look forward to welcoming him back to the Kohl Center later this season.
The first Badger to score 2,000 points, Finley’s college career (1991-95) coincided with the resurgence of Wisconsin men’s basketball. He helped lead the Badgers to the 1994 NCAA Tournament, Wisconsin’s first appearance in 47 years. He was a two-time All-Big Ten selection and a three-time Associated Press honorable mention All-American selection, rising to No. 12 on the Big Ten’s all-time scoring list at the end of his career.
After his illustrious Madison career, he was selected in the first round of the NBA Draft speak Phoenix Suns. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team in 1996 and earned All-Star selections in 2000 and 2001 as a member of the Dallas Mavericks. In 2007, he started all 20 playoff games for the San Antonio Spursaveraging 11.3 points per game and helping them win the NBA championship.
He ended up playing 15 years in the NBA with the Suns, Mavs, Spurs and Boston Celtics. He finished his NBA career with 17,306 points (15.7 per game) and ranks among the top 20 in NBA career 3-point history.
“For me, that’s one of the big things I look forward to seeing when my number hits the rafters. It’s also a legacy for my kids. If they ever decide to go to the UW they can see their last name up there and that means a lot to me too,” Finley said.
Finley will speak to the media before the game on Sunday morning and Belz hopes to be there to cover the whole day.