He humbly told me this afternoon in thanking me for my Tucson Portrait Project blog that he had been in the Arizona Daily Star newspaper on Sunday. I remembered reading the front page article so I quickly checked the hard copy and realized that the Ernie McCray who had been commenting on our TC blogs for months, was the same man who was honored at McKale Center on February 13, for being the Wildcat basketball player who scored a record 46 points in one game against Los Angeles State, back on 2/6/1960. He still holds the record for the most points scored in any Wildcat game.
And these are his words to me that he was honored “just for scoring a bunch of points in a basketball game on a magical day close to the middle of the last Century. I must be old (smile).” Wow, just a bunch of 46 points.
But the story goes on to say that Ernie could not join his team for dinner at a restaurant later as he knew that he would not be served. Yes, racism existed back then against Black Americans here in the Old Pueblo. But Ernie is not bitter or angry according to the article.
Read more about Ernie, who is now 71 years old and a resident of San Diego, in the Star article (click here). He went on to get his Masters Degree from U of A as well and overcame the racism he had experienced along his life.
Congratulations Ernie for your record and for your loyalty to the Wildcats. I am pleased that while here last weekend you admired the Dia de Los Muertos art mural that “Artistic Tucson” blogged about at Speedway/Stone, and that you enjoyed seeing our faces immortalized on the tile portrait project under the 4th Avenue Underpass.
I have enjoyed your astute and kind comments over the months, and am happy for your recent honor. I used to play basketball with friends in my younger days and I know that what you did was a big deal, not just a “bunch of points”. Congratulations again from us here at the Tucson Citizen.
For more information about Ernie, see his website/blogsite OB Rag: http://obrag.org/