Who is Nikki McCray?
Nikki McCray is the former head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs women’s basketball team and a former women’s basketball star. Featuring on basketball courts in collegiate, Olympics, and professional competition, she refers to herself as one of the top best players in women’s basketball in the 1990s.
Due t to her best performance, Nikki helped rise the popularity of the women’s game which at one time struggled to draw fans into the arena. Furthermore, she defected from the American Basketball League (ABL) to the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) in 1997.
When Was She Born?
The Tennessee native was born on December 17th, 1971 in Collierville, a town in Shelby County.
How did Nikki McCray become a basketball player?
Nikki became absolutely hypnotized by basketball at age 11, while she was growing up in Tennessee. Nikki’s grandmother supported her in developing her skills by making sure that she wasn’t denied the chance to play with boys. Moreover, Nikki had no problem with the attention drawn to her as the only girl playing with boys since she used to enjoy being in the spotlight on the court.
Nikki attended one of the nation’s powerhouses in women’s basketball the University of Tennessee. Her best performance attracted the attention of coach Pat Summitt of the Lady Volunteer women’s basketball team at the University of Tennessee. In 1991, McCray joined the University of Tennessee where she earned a degree in sports marketing as well as education and graduated in 1995.
In her junior year, she led the team in scoring, averaging 16.3 points per game. Moreover, she helped the team to win four consecutive SEC Championships and attend four NCAA Tournaments. She was named Best Defensive Player for Tennessee for the four years between 1992 and 1995, Lady Vols Scholar-Athlete for 1993, SEC player of the Years for 1994 and 1995, Collegiate All-American for those same years, MVP of the NCAA Mideast Regionals in 1995 as well as she was a coach’s Award recipient. Furthermore, Nikki was a nominee for the 1994 Honda-Broderick Award and runners-up for the Naismith Player of the Year for 1994 and 1995.
In the 1996 inaugural season, Nikki signed a one-year contract with the American Basketball League, joining the now-defunct Columbus Quest team for a reported salary of $150 thousand.
Nikki entered the historic 1995-96 USA Basketball Women’s National teams after compiling a combined 60-0 record and was named the 1996 US Olympic Committee and USA Basketball Team of the Year In 1997, she decided to forego the current ABL season and transferred to the Women’s National Basketball Association.
Nikki signed on with the WNBA and was the first player selected for the floundering Washington mystics on 27 January 1998. She finished the 1999 WNBA season ranked fourth in the league for scoring and was named a starter for the 2000 WNBA All-Star Game, leading vote-getter among all guards in the Eastern Conference. Nikki was traded in the WNBA draft to Indiana Fever for the Fever’s first-round and third-round picks in 2001. Her best performance with Mystics ranked her first with 13 consecutive games with a 3-point field goal, second in scoring average, and first in 3-point field goals attempted.
Nikki was noted as much for her community service and excellent singing voice and phenomenal basketball playing. Additionally, she helps in her community by donating time to young youths’ clubs where she talks to kids about sports as well as nutrition. She even worked at Abe’s Table soup kitchen sponsored by Washington Wizards owner Abe Pollin. She is also a spokesperson for the Wizards and Mystics Pick & Roll reading incentive program that enrolls 3500 students. Moreover, Nikki sang the national anthem at an NBA game, wowing them in her hometown of Collierville Tennessee, and a park was recently named for her.
- 1991-1995 Nikki was a professional player for the national women’s collegiate basketball team, the University of Tennessee
- 1990-1991 She played on USA Women’s World Championship Qualifying Tournament Team.
- 1993 She played for U.S Olympic women’s basketball team.
- 1996 She joined Columbus Quest of the American Basketball League (ABL).
- 1996 She signed a three-year contract with the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).
- 1997 She played in WNBA All-Star European tour as well as was named to the WNBA expansion team Washington Mystics.
Who is married to Nikki McCray?
Nikki is married to Thomas Penson, who proposed to her in the middle of the basketball court after a game.
How Much Did Nikki McCray Make From Her Career?
Nikki McCray was the real deal back in the days and before calling it a career she had gathered a lucrative amount. Though much is not known about her actual net worth, judging from the down-to-earth lifestyle she has approximately over $ 1 million.