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Titans retire #24 of NBA champ Curerton

On January 29, 2020

VN photo by JORGE REYNA

BY JORGE REYNA / VN SPORTS EDITOR

It’s every player’s dream to get his jersey retired, whether for high school, college or professional play.

Earl “The Twirl” Cureton realized that honor last week, Jan. 23, as his legacy as one of the all-time Titan greats was cemented.

Cureton, who had a long career in the NBA, shared his jersey-retirement with family and old teammates.

A part of the Titan Hall of Fame since 2007, Cureton now has his number in the rafters with fellow Titan basketball legends like Bob Calihan, Rashad Phillips and Terry Tyler.

“For me to have an opportunity to be a part of that legacy is a thrill,” said Cureton.

Cureton was part of the 1978-79 team that made it to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA tournament.

Dick Vitale, Isiah Thomas, Muggsy Bogues and other longtime friends of Cureton sent personal video messages to the event.

Other NBA peers, like Charles Oakley and Greg Kelser, as well as many former teammates, showed their support and respect for #24 by attending the ceremony.

“I’ve known Earl for over 40 years,” said Kelser, the Pistons color commentator, “and it’s an honor to be here and watch him get celebrated in the way he has and it’s certainly well deserved.”

At halftime during the men’s basketball game against the IUPUI Jaguars, a video tribute to the Titan great was presented, acknowledging his personal achievements.

Cureton, who played 12 seasons in the NBA, was a two-time champion, winning with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1983 and Houston Rockets in 1994.

He is currently a community ambassador for the Detroit Pistons.

Before the banner was taken away in preparation for its hanging, Cureton honored his late mother, who died around Thanksgiving last year, by quoting her.

 “One of her favorite quotes is ‘God is great,’ ” he said. “I had to say that tonight. I never thought I’d have this opportunity tonight and have my jersey retired in my hometown.”

The love and support of his wife Judith, daughter Sari and former teammates were visible at the ceremony.

“It’s exciting for all of us,” said Judith. “My daughter just said, ‘Wow, it’s so cool that my dad is receiving this honor.’ She is proud and so am I.”

Cureton was presented another treat to end the night: The Titans defeated the Jaguars 76-64 to end a successful night for the living legend.

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