NBA player honored at jersey retirement ceremony held at Middle Village alma mater

NBA player number retired
Former Christ the King hoops star Jose Alvarado had his number retired by his alma mater on Feb. 24. (Photo courtesy of Men’s Christ the King Royals Basketball Program via Instagram)

It was a memorable night for Christ The King (CTK) alum and NBA player Jose Alvarado, who visited the school on Friday, Feb. 24, to get his high school jersey retired in front of a packed house full of fans excited to see the NBA player being honored.

The ceremony was a fitting backdrop for the evening as Christ the King’s men’s varsity basketball team competed in the Catholic High School Athletic Association championship game against St. Francis Prep Terriers.

Alvarado addressed the crowd during the ceremony and reminded them that “anything is possible.”

“I’m not 6’5. I’m not athletic. I don’t have a crazy wingspan. But I got heart — that you can’t measure,” Alvarado said.

Alvarado is currently a member of the New Orleans Pelicans and recently won the NBA’s Rising Stars Game MVP during the 2023 All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City.

He graduated from CTK in 2017. Since then, he has been able to build a successful basketball career.

Jose Alvarado starred on the court for Christ the King. (File photo by William Thomas)

Alvarado was a rising star at CTK basketball. Before playing collegiality at Georgia Tech, Alvarado averaged a team-high 17.9 points per game and cracked the 20-point mark in 13 contests.

Now in the NBA and a contributing member of the Pelicans’ rotation, Alvarado is averaging 9.0 points per game, 2.3 rebounds per game and 3 assists per game. Recently, Alvarado closed a 135-110 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks with 18 points (4-12 FG, 3-7 3Pt, 7-8 FT), six assists and three rebounds and two steals over 29 minutes.

Alvarado’s parents, along with a Pelicans teammate, were in attendance on Friday night to cheer on his former high school team.

Christ the King gutted out a hard-earned 73-72 victory against St. Francis Prep to win the Brooklyn/Queens tournament.

Joseph Arbitello, head coach of the men’s varsity basketball team and Alvarado’s former coach, said the players didn’t expect to compete for the championship earlier in the season. But they relished the opportunity to do so.

Having Alvarado in the stands to cheer them on and have his number retired added another level to the game, according to Arbitello.

“It was exciting to win the game and retire the number on the same day,” Arbitello said.