Jennifer “Grandmama” Gillom was born June 13, 1964, in Abbeville, located near Oxford in Lafayette County, Mississippi. From an early age, Jennifer showed her talent with a basketball and made a name for herself at Lafayette High School.
She committed to Ole Miss after graduating from LHS. Gillom was the second-highest scorer in Ole Miss’ history, scoring 2,186 points during her time on the team. During her time at Ole Miss, from 1982 to 1986, Gillom helped lead the Rebels to a 103-23 record, with three SEC West titles and four NCAA Tournament appearances.
That included two trips to the Sweet Sixteen in 1983 and 1984 and two appearances in the Elite Eight in 1985 and 1986. Gillom became the Southeastern Conference Female Athlete of the Year, the Kodak All-American and the NCAA Midwest Regional MVP during the 1986 season. She was also a four-time All-SEC first team selection.
After graduating from Ole Miss, Gillom played overseas in Italy, Greece, Spain and Turkey. The Phoenix Mercury signed Gillom in 1996. She spent six years with the Mercury, then joined the Los Angeles Sparks. Gillom ended her playing career in 2003.
Gillom was a member of the 1999 WNBA West All-Star team and was named first team All-WNBA 1997 and All-WNBA team second team in 1998. Her team advanced to one WNBA Final in 1998, but lost to the Houston Comets.
No stranger to international basketball, Gillom won a gold medal in the 1987 Pan American Games and a gold medal in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Overall, Gillom has won five gold medals and one silver medal in a lengthy international career.
In 2009 Gillom was inducted into the WNBA Hall of Fame. That same year, Ole Miss named the new Sports Center on campus, the Gillom Sports Center, after Jennifer and her sister Peggie, the first black woman to play basketball at Ole Miss. Upon receiving the honor Jennifer Gillum said:
“It’s hard to comprehend; it’s so amazing. Race always becomes an issue, especially at Ole Miss because of the past. To have two black women (so honored), it makes it more humbling for Peggie and myself. It makes you feel like you’ve done something right in your life.”