Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats’ Game Scoring Record-Holder Ernie McCray Celebrates 82nd Birthday With a Dance

Ernie McCray turned 82 years old today, a legendary figure in Arizona history as the first African-American men’s basketball player to graduate from the school and also his program-record 46 points against Cal State Los Angeles 60 years ago at Bear Down Gym.

McCray, ever spry and whimsical, still writes a column titled, “Thoughts From the Soul of the Tucson Kid,” published by the OB (Ocean Beach) Rag.

The Tucson High School legend (Class of 1956) posted today this video of him celebrating his birthday, dancing at his San Diego home:

McCray recently wrote a poem titled “The Best I Can” about coping with the shelter-at-home restrictions in California because of the COVID-19 pandemic:

People ask me how I’m doing
and I say “The best that I can.”
How else can I reply as a human?
And that’s what I am,
a human,
bound by nature
to do the best that I can,
a mere organism
in the wilds
of the Animal Kingdom,
a class of beings who
eat and drink and breathe
and reproduce sexually,
a class of beings who
are, whether they realize it or not,
players in a game
where “survival of the fittest” reigns,
a game
where you don’t stand
a chance
if you don’t do the best you can.
And just about
the best I can do
right now,
with trillions upon trillions
upon trillions
of superbugs trying
to run my old ass down,
is stay in my crib
and wish for a day
when I can run around town
again –
until then I’ll just do
The Best That I Can!

McCray has a distinguished background as not only a basketball player but also as an educator, father, husband and a civil rights activist. 

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
To Top