It’s been nearly three years since Kansas retired Kirk Kinrich’s No. 10 jersey, but Saturday night another number joined Hinrich’s. During halftime of their game against Texas, the Jayhawks retired Mario Chalmers’ No. 15, marking the 27th time a jersey has been lifted in to the rafters at Allen Fieldhouse.
Most will remember Chalmers for making the go-ahead shot with seconds left in the 2008 NCAA Championship game against Memphis, a shot that has since been dubbed “Mario’s Miracle.” The infamous basket clinched the Jayhawks’ fifth national title and earned Chalmers a place among other Kansas all-time greats.
Before the game Saturday night, Chalmers met with the media to reminisce over the shot and his time at Kansas.
“I remember everything about the shot,” Chalmers said. “Everything from Derrick Rose missing the free throw to Sherron [Collins] bringing the ball up the court to me releasing the ball and watching it go in.”
Chalmers was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2008 Final Four in San Antonio, but didn’t realize just how much his game-winning shot meant until he returned to Lawrence after the tournament.
“It sunk in a couple days later once we got back to campus and back to our daily lives,” Chalmers said. “Students started coming up to me and professors were telling me how great a feeling it was.”
His fame on campus has only grown since 2008, and since winning the 2012 NBA Championship as a member of the Miami Heat he’s become the most recent in a long line of legendary Jayhawks. When asked if anything he has accomplished in the NBA compares to his game-winning shot in 2008, Chalmers paused for a moment before offering an answer.
“I doubt it,” Chalmers said. “That takes the cake for me.”
During the ceremony Chalmers walked to midcourt, welcomed by a standing ovation before taking a few minutes to address the sellout crowd.
“This will always be my home no matter what,” Chalmers said. “There’s no better feeling than being back at the Fieldhouse in front of 16,300.”