A Hall of Fame Career


Jonah Ballow with Jennifer Gillom

It took one game of organized basketball for Lynx head coach Jennifer Gillom to realize her potential greatness. Gillom displayed an innate ability to play basketball with a dominating performance in which she scored all 16 of her junior high school team's points and led them to a victory.

On Saturday, June 13 the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame will induct Gillom, therefore solidifying her place in history.

"I'm a very humble person but I look back at my career and you would kind of be a fool not to be excited about all that has happened in my life right now," Gillom said. "It's incredible the things that have happened in my life and all the goals that I've set and been met."

Before accepting the head coach position for Minnesota three days before the season opener, Gillom spent seven years in the WNBA as one of pioneers of the league. Gillom was an impact player for the Phoenix Mercury for six seasons and reached the WNBA Finals in 1998. In that 98' year, Gillom posted a career-high 20.8 points and 7.3 boards while elevating her status as one of the elite players in the sport.

"Where I feel like my game had really expanded and felt like I had made it, was when I started playing in the WNBA. I think my game was fully developed when the league started in 97', that's when I realized I had the complete package and I thought that was the moment when I felt I had done it and can continue to do better," Gillom remembered.

Adding to the long row of basketball hardware is a gold medal captured at the 1988 Olympics. In fact, Gillom collected a total of six gold medals in international competition.

"It's starting to slowly but surely synching in that oh my god when I look at my career, look at my life, it's been amazing. That is the only word I can think of, amazing," Gillom said.

Students at the University of Mississippi are fully aware of Gillom's remarkable college career. The Ole Miss campus features The Gillom Sports Center that houses the Rebel volleyball team and men's/women's indoor tennis teams. The center was built in the honor of Gillom's tremendous career at Ole Miss. In four years, Gillom's team posted two trips to the Elite Eight along with winning three SEC West titles. The SEC named Gillom the Female Athlete of the Year in her senior season.

From a standout college athlete to a highly productive WNBA star, Gillom now leads a group of young women as the head coach for the Lynx. In three games, Minnesota is already displaying the same type of qualities that made Gillom a legend in the sport. Gillom will be recognized in front of the home crowd on Friday night against the Storm and then board a plane for the induction ceremony on Saturday in Tennessee.

With a smile on her face, Gillom projects herself to the moment, "I'm going to be feeling so much emotion. Being inducted to the Hall of Fame is just an emotional part in itself, having my family there to support me, which will be a large group, celebrating my birthday, I mean you couldn't ask for a better day."

The Lynx search for a 4-0 start to the 2009 season under the tutelage of Gillom as she works to lead Minnesota to a WNBA championship. The final chapter of her book is yet to be written but the Gillom life story is already filled with passion, excitement, and historical achievements. Spectators on hand to watch her 16-point outburst in junior high school are certainly not surprised; they too saw the potential greatness.
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