Remarks for My Ring of Honor Induction – After Arizona v. UCLA Game

by on January 24, 2023 · 8 comments

in From the Soul, Sports

By Ernie McCray

Back when I was playing
in the old Bear Down Gym
doing my “Easy Ernie” thing,
draining 2’s
and what today|
would be 3’s
and snatching rebounds
like I was taking back
something that had been stolen from me,
I couldn’t have dreamed
that all that balling
would someday
result in my name hanging from a rafter
in the University of Arizona’s
Basketball Ring of Honor,

because who had heard of such a thing?

But the tribute, by the way,

to use a cliché,

literally blows me away

because I flat out

love the U of A,

having spent my childhood,

hanging out with my mother,

going to the campus

for lectures and concerts

and recitals and plays

and to watch the Wildcat basketball teams play

back in the 40’s and early 50’s.

The great hoopsters of the time

made me want to

wear the old Red and Blue,

and in a flash,

as life moves fast,

my dream came true

and now I’m being immortalized

before my very own eyes,

and I want to accept this prize

for myself

and my teammates,

a bunch of wonderful guys

who believed in me

and made it fun

although we hardly ever won

(but, we “Fought like Wildcats”

when all is said and done),

and for

my beloved hometown’s

Black community,

folks who loved me

and cheered me on,

patting me on the back

and giving me some skin,

with a “Way to go”

and “Great game”

every now and then,


that sounded like a sweet symphony

to my ears,

filling my heart and soul

with a kind of joy

that made me want to dance

like Gene Kelly

in a scene in “Singing in the Rain,”

from the lessening of the

ever present somewhat

hidden away dull pain

that accompanies

living as a second-class citizen,

as no human being wants to be considered

“less than.”


So, I not only played for me

and the team,

but for all of them,

as a minute contribution

to the furthering

of our hopes and dreams

and I will continue,

in their honor,


for as long as I breathe,

to make the world

the way

we wanted it to be.


I thank my hometown

and my university

which are always,

as in forever,

on my Sonoran Desert inspired mind,

for honoring me

so grandly.


And I, particularly,

want to acknowledge Greg Hansen,

Arizona Daily Star’s

sports columnist,

for advocating for my induction

into the Ring of Honor,

for his appreciation of history,

his deep understanding

that Arizona sports

didn’t just originate yesterday,

that some athletes go back a ways

and set standards

for future days.


Anyway, it’s so nice

being home.

I’ll cherish this honor

and these moments

for the rest of my days.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie January 25, 2023 at 9:03 am

Congrats, Ernie! How did you find out about it? What an honor!


Ernie McCray January 26, 2023 at 4:59 pm

Greg Hansen a reporter for the Arizona Daily Star looked at the Ring of Honor who and wasn’t on it and brought it up with the university and, voila, there I was.


Frank Gormlie January 26, 2023 at 6:31 pm

Did you go to the event & game?


Jerry Wallingford January 25, 2023 at 11:05 am

Congratulations Ernie on this well-deserved honor! To those who do not know, when Ernie graduated, he held something like ten major U of A records, including most points in a single game, most points in a season, most points in a career, the same for rebounds, at so on. To this day his record for most points in a game still stands.


Glenn "Croc" Millar January 25, 2023 at 8:24 pm


Congrats! I too went to the U of A, though you were a bit ahead of my time. I was born the year you were drafted by Cincinnati. I was there when Kerr was lighting up McKale with threes.


Ernie McCray January 26, 2023 at 5:00 pm

You got to see the great teams.


Glenn "Croc" Millar January 25, 2023 at 8:33 pm

Congrats! Those are some records!??

I too went to the U of A, though you were a bit ahead of my time. I was born the year you were drafted by Cincinnati. I was there when Kerr was lighting up McKale with threes.??

I’m reminded of a story we used to tell around 1990.??A UA student and an ASU student are watching the two teams play in the Territorial Bowl. The ASU guy has a dog. ASU scores a field goal and the dog does a back flip. Then ASU scores a touchdown and the dog does two backflips with a full twist.??

The U of A guy says, “That’s amazing! What’s the dog do if ASU beats the U of A?”??

“I don’t know,” says the ASU fan. “The dog is only 9 years old.”


Ernie McCray January 26, 2023 at 5:01 pm

Love it.


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