ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- Honored by the team that helped launch her career, during a game against another team she once coached. Friday night the jersey of a former pro basketball player was retired at Orange Park High.
It was an emotional ceremony because the honoree couldn't be there. Alicia Gladden was killed in a car accident about seven months ago. A drunk driver hit her car, the driver also died.
"Sometimes I think that she's just gone overseas to play basketball and she'll be back," said David Gladden. "But that's not going to happen."
Featured in a foreign magazine as a player in Bosnia, Alicia Gladden's talents on the basketball court took her pretty far. But before going pro, she played at Orange Park High School. And Friday night Gladden's jersey, number 23 was retired.
"I didn't think they did that in High School," said David Gladden. "They're retiring her jersey! I just wish she was here to see it."
He lost his only daughter back in April, and now holds on to memories of her, keeping photos nearby. At only 27 years old, she was living her dream. Gladden became a coach at Creekside High helping to mold and motivate future stars.
"She always smiled," said Gladden. "And not to see that anymore. It's tough." But, he said, the love and support from the community helps.
First Coast News