Just do it: Retire Jibri Bryan’s No. 34


Mercer basketball remembers Jibri Bryan by placing his jersey and shoes on the bench during his vigil Wednesday night. Photo by Hayes Rule.

Hayes Rule, Staff Writer

Four. Seven. Thirteen. Twenty-four. Forty-two. No, those aren’t the numbers of the white balls in the billion-dollar Powerball drawing in January — they’re the five numbers retired by Mercer basketball. It’s time to make it six.

Jibri Bryan cannot grace us with his presence on and off the basketball court anymore. He can’t leap high, lock down players defensively or motivate his fellow teammates. He cannot watch his 2-year-old son grow into a man.

After his murder, Bryan cannot make the tangible impact on Macon, Mercer or his family that he was able to provide while he was here with us. So now it’s our turn; it’s our turn to show our respect and to make an everlasting impact, one that will never emulate the one Bryan made on those around him. But we can try.

And that begins with retiring No. 34. Scott Emerson (No. 4), Tommy Mixon (No. 7), Glenn Wilkes (No. 13), Eric Chambers (No. 24) and Sam Mitchell (No. 42) donned the five jerseys that are currently retired by the Mercer basketball program.

And interestingly enough, Chambers’ number was retired during the 1985-86 season after he passed away in 1985, his junior year at Mercer. So if it’s been done before, why not again? Why not for the sixth-year senior who fellow teammates had only these inspiring comments:

Freshman Cory Kilby: “Jibri is probably the best leader I’ve ever been around.”

Sophomore Tyre Moore: “He was one of the best people I ever knew. If I can be anything like Jibri the rest of my life, I’m going to be a better person.”

Freshman Jaylen Stowe: “He was a true leader — a true teammate. He was always smiling no matter what. He kept us focused; even when he was out he was always with us.”

Redshirt sophomore Desmond Ringer: “If I was going through something he would lift me up. If I had a question, he was always there.”

Sophomore Stephon Jelks: “He taught me more than just basketball — just more about life.”

Jibri Bryan didn’t just play basketball. He was a leader. He was a graduate student working on his MBA. He was a father.

Not only did Mercerians and teammates respect him, but he also left an impact on the Macon community. Bryan was nominated for the Allstate NABC Good Works Team, a group of 10 student-athletes in the NCAA, five each from Division I and Division II.

The Savannah native had many fans, but one of the most loyal? A 7-year-old young girl named Molly Hamlin, who met Jibri through her mother’s work with OrthoGeorgia. Bryan battled numerous knee injuries as a Bear, so as he received more and more treatment, his relationship with both Christina Hamlin and Molly grew.

I remember seeing her with Bryan after some recent games. I never knew exactly what the backstory of the relationship was, but just by their interaction, it was easy to see they truly cared for each other. Here’s a picture of Molly and Jibri:


And a tweet by Molly’s mother after the news of Bryan’s death:



Those four spectacular players who earned having their number retired because of their play — Emerson, Mixon, Wilkes and Mitchell — undoubtedly made their own impact on the university. But so has Jibri, arguably more so with everything considered.

You cannot put a numerical value on what Bryan has done while at Mercer. But there is one number we can always tie to Bryan’s legacy: 34.


Follow this link and sign the petition if you agree that Mercer should retire Jibri Bryan’s number: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/691/791/426/retire-jibri-bryans-number/