Timms and Gillom Honored by Celebration

By Andrew Nicholson, PhoenixMercury.com
Posted: June 7, 2006

Michele Timms and Jennifer Gillom were honored Tuesday night in a half-time celebration as part of the WNBA’s 10-year anniversary.

The decade celebration was a great way to honor four of the original members of the 1997 Mercury team, as well as leaders on the 1998 team that made a run at the championship.

Timms and Gillom were joined by current Mercury wing Bridget Pettis at center court for the celebration. Former Head Coach Cheryl Miller was also honored, although she was unable to attend. The ceremony was led by another former Mercury original and Hall of Fame member – Nancy Lieberman, who was also in attendance doing color commentary for the ESPN2 broadcast.

Although she now resides in her native Australia, Timms made the 15-hour flight to the Valley for the ceremony and was excited to be back for the 10-year anniversary.

“I just flew in for this and I fly back on Friday,” Timms said. “It’s fantastic to be honored and I’m really excited about it. We’re getting the old crew back together.”

The legends were honored with Tiffany gifts and the likeness of the big four – Miller, Timms, Gillom, and Pettis was unveiled in the northeast corner of the rafters.

The excitement from the crowd was apparent and Gillom lead the crowd in the Mercury song at halftime and then again after the Mercury got their first win of the season. While Gillom sang, Timms got up on the scorers table and waved the Mercury flag around cheering the crowd on.

Prior to the celebrating, the scoreboard showed a highlight reel of the greatest plays from the big four’s early career and Timms, Pettis, and Gillom laughed as they looked on, several times it showed Gillom hitting one of her amazing shots and Timms or Pettis (with her old school buzz and blonde locks) jumping on Gillom in celebration.

Timms remembers Gillom’s shots like they were yesterday.

“To see Jen again is great,” Timms said. “She is one of the all-time best WNBA players. She made some amazing, amazing shots, like shots that Michael Jordan would have been proud of.”

There were also classic highlights of Miller and her dramatic coaching ways. Although she couldn’t make it due to TNT obligations for the NBA Finals, Timms had great things to say about the Mercury’s first coach.

“She was an extraordinary talent in being able to motivate the players and to get the crowd rocking, as well,” Timms said. “I’ve never seen a coach in the history of the WNBA be able to relate to the crowd so well, and get the X-Factor so involved in the game.”

Gillom took over the duties of getting the X-Factor involved Tuesday, and when she finally took the time to reflect on the achievement, she was humbled.

“I’ve had a lot of honors in my career, but this one to me is very special,” Gillom said. “To be able to come back here and be honored by the fans who supported me all these years, especially because it was the late stage of my career, it is quite an achievement.”

Unlike Timms, Gillom still resides in Phoenix and has been fortunate to attend quite a few Mercury games since her retirement. “I still come to some of the games and I hear fans calling my name,” Gillom smiled. “Especially Ole Grand Ma-Ma. It’s still fun!”

When the ceremony ended and the Mercury had officially beaten up on the Monarchs, 90-76, the two Mercury legends return to their new day jobs – both still very much involved with basketball.

“Right now I am coaching at Xavier College Preparatory with a winning record, of course,” Gillom laughed. “This is my second season and we have a winning record of 50-15.

“I also have my own business called hoops and dreams where I have different camps and clinics and I train individuals. I’m having a great time. I’m still involved with basketball and that is something that I want to do. Hopefully, that coaching winning record in high school will take me to another level someday.”

As for “Timmsy,” she is back in Victoria trying to put “bums on the seats.”

“I work with the professional men’s team now, in the national basketball league down in Australia,” Timms said. “I’m the development manager for the South Dragons. It’s a really interesting stepping stone for me because after my career I came back to Phoenix each year – running camps, color commentary on TV and assistant coaching. So this is my first year I have actually gone back to Australia and worked in Victoria. Check out the website: Southdragons.com.”