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UCLA’s Kenny Young hopes to send Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 off right

By in Press Enterprise on November 22, 2017

By Thuc Nhi Nguyen

LOS ANGELES — Kenny Young can’t believe this will be the last time.

It’s the last time he’ll run out of the Rose Bowl tunnel wearing his No. 42 jersey. It might even be the last time any UCLA athlete sports Jackie Robinson’s iconic jersey number. He wants it to be special.

“I want to go out with a win,” Young said. “That would be a great way to end my regular season and the No. 42.”

If Young can help UCLA to a win Friday against Cal at 7:30 p.m., then the No. 42 jersey gets to live on for one more game as the Bruins (5-6, 3-5 Pac-12) will clinch bowl eligibility. But to wear the number for a final time in Pasadena, Robinson’s hometown, is an “extreme honor,” Young said, that he’s valued ever since he learned it was going to be retired three years ago.

“It was a responsibility upon myself that I had worn it, to go out and put the jersey in a better place than I found it,” Young said.

The senior from New Orleans has helped steer the Bruins through a tumultuous year. UCLA started the season with the biggest comeback in school history, taking down Texas A&M in a thriller that had the nation buzzing. Then UCLA lost to Memphis on the road and Stanford for the 10th consecutive year. Injuries ravaged a defense that sank to the bottom in the national rankings. The Bruins lost to USC in a hard-fought rivalry game that ultimately cost head coach Jim Mora his job.

Through a difficult season, Young tries to rely on the values embodied in Robinson’s No. 42 to keep the Bruins on track.

“That greatness that Jackie Robinson had, it always continues to shine,” Young said. “It’s my job to keep that light shining in my teammates, […]    

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