When the name Wayne Gretzky is mentioned, it conjures images of a hockey icon whose legacy is unparalleled.
Gretzky wore the No. 99 jersey during his career and it was retired by the league after he hung up his skates.
Former NFL star J.J. Watt, who earned $129 million during his career, stoked controversy when he proudly adorned the No. 99 on his hockey helmet for a casual contest.
A journalist, Stephen Miller, took offence at Watt's actions and tweeted:
"Any dude wearing 99 in beer league is just asking to get dropped."
Undeterred by the critique, Watt, known for his unwavering confidence, fired back with a defiant response.
"Come drop me then. Let’s see how that goes. I showed up to the rink and the NHL guys that invited me to play with them had a bag of gear for me with this helmet in it. I didn’t choose it. You gonna drop them too?" Watt replied.
Wayne Gretzky's No. 99 ascended as Oilers paid tribute
On Oct. 1, 1999, the Edmonton Oilers raised Wayne Gretzky's iconic No. 99 to the rafters of the Skyreach Centre. The backdrop was set for their season-opening game against the New York Rangers, resulting in a 1-1 tie.
Amid a crowd of over 17,000 fervent fans, including his family and former teammates, Gretzky basked in a five-minute standing ovation. Emotions ran high as his former coach Glen Sather embraced him. Sather also cherished Oilers companions Mark Messier, Jari Kurri and Dave Semenko as he presented Gretzky with a heartfelt portrait.
Gretzky's retirement decision, announced during the concluding moments of the 1998-99 season, was solidified. He had bid his final NHL farewell on April 18, 1999, as a member of the Rangers.
As his immortal No. 99 ascended, Wayne Gretzky's words resonated:
"When I saw that banner go up, there was no turning back."
The jersey's retirement marked a timeless tribute to a legend's unparalleled legacy in the world of hockey.