A Lesson in Being Great Yesterday and Exceptional Tomorrow – LeRoy Watkins Sr. and the Historic CCNY Basketball Team

LeRoy Watkins Sr

LeRoy Watkins Sr. played for the famous 1950 CCNY basketball team that won BOTH the NCAA and NIT tournaments. Historic. He would tell us glory stories about playing at Madison Square Garden, winning March Madness (it wasn’t called that back then), and winning the tip off against national power house Kentucky. He also talked about the equally historic point shaving scandal that involved some of his closest friends (don’t worry LeRoy #1 was not involved). 

There are countless books and articles about his team. Heck, you can drive to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA to check his team out. That’s how historic they were. For any regular person that experience would be something for them to hang their hat on for the rest of their life, but for my grandfather it was just one story in an anthology of great stories. He didn’t live in the past and always focused on the next thing, which is something that was passed to my dad (LeRoy Jr.), then to me (LeRoy III), currently to my son (LeRoy IV), and hopefully to his son (no name pressure here). Regardless of how exceptional you were yesterday, be better tomorrow. Hopefully when you look back at your life’s work it’s a collection of great stories.

My grandfather LeRoy Watkins Sr, holding his coach Nat Holman after City College of New York defeated Bradley in the N.C.A.A. title game at Madison Square Garden on March 28, 1950, days after his team won the National Invitation Tournament

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