Nikki during a game

Nikki McCray: Basketball, Battling Cancer & Net Worth

Everybody is familiar with basketball and the NBA. However, only a few people are aware of WNBA. But those who follow WNBA closely know Nikki McCray.

Furthermore, She’s an inductee at the hall of fame WNBA. She has been a role model for her colleagues and her fans and friends.

She played in the WNBA for eight seasons (1996-2006).

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Nikki Coaching Mississippi state bulldogs

Nikki McCray Penson was born on December 17, 1971, in Colleyville, Tennessee, the USA, to Sally Coleman.

She used to wear the number 15 Jersey.

Many people may know her from her Olympic glory days, but through this article, we dive right into her stellar career in basketball and her personal struggles of her life.

Quick Facts:

Here are the quick facts about Nikki McCray

Full name Nikki McCray
Date of birth December 17, 1971
Age 52 Years Old
Birthplace Collierville,tennesse, U.S.A
Religion Christianity
Nationality American
Ethnicity African-American
Education Unknown
Father’s name Not Available
Mother’s name Sally Coleman
Zodiac sign Sagittarius
Height 5ft 11in (1.80m)
Weight 158 lb (72 kg)
Spouse Thomas Penson,
Children one son (Thomas Nickson Penson)
Hair color black
Eye color Brown
Net Worth $100,000- $1 million
Siblings Brother
Sexual Orientation Straight
Profession Basketball Coach
Ex profession Basketball Player
Social Media Twitter
Olympic Medals 2 Gold (1996, Atalanta and 2000, Sydney)
Merch Autographed Basketball Card
Last Update May, 2024

Nikki McCray: Age, Height, Weight

Nikki is currently 52 Years Old. She is 5’1″ tall, and she weighs about 158 lb.

Early Childhood and Grandmother Support

Since she was a kid, Nikki was obsessed with playing Basketball. Her grandmother is the reason where Nikki is now, as her grandmother supported her from childhood.

Nikki’s grandmother used to tell her cousins to play with her even though she was the sole female basketball player during family gatherings.

Her grandmother also supported her choice to play amongst the neighborhood boys even if she was the sole girl player.

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Nikki McCray: Husband and Family

Nikki was married to Thomas Penson, and she has a beautiful son named Thomas Nickson person.

Rise To Fame

she joined one of the countries powerhouses, the Women’s Basketball University of Tennessee. At the University of Tennessee, Nikki started her career as a point guard.

She impressed coach pat summit during her Tennessee days. Her name was mentioned to the American team while playing for Tennessee.

Nikki McCray: People’s Person

Colleagues knew Nikki for her helping nature. She was part of her college team known as a lary volunteer.

In 2000 she was chosen by president bill Clinton to be a member of the president’s council for physical fitness and sports.

Nikki McCray: Tenacious Athlete

Nikki’s teammates and her coaches knew her as a tenacious player for her resilience and never-giving-up attitude.

Her friends and colleagues noticed her tenacious attitude during a game at Stanford University in 1995, where she played with a broken hand and still managed to score 21 points.

Nikki McCray: A Role Model

Nikki was a phenomenal WNBA player who was a role model for her teammates, rivals, and fans. Her teammates labeled her as a professional athlete who has inspired an entire generation.

Nikki McCray: Career

After she started her career at the University of Tennessee and she was a star player throughout her 4 years there from 1991 to 1995.

However, she missed her first season due to a knee injury.

She later became a valuable player after recovering. Nikki was also part of the USA team that played the women’s world championship qualifying tournament in 1993.

Shortly after leaving Tennessee, She joined Columbus’s quest of the American basketball league (ABL) in 1996.

She then played for Washington mystics(1998-2001), Indiana fever(2002-2003), Phoenix Mercury(2004), San Antonio stars (2005), and finally finishing her career at Chicago sky in 2006.

Washington Mystics Days

Nikki made a name for herself and gained fame when she started playing for Washington Mystics. Her Tennessee days were also glorious and full of amazing gameplays.

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Nikki playing for the Washington mystics

She became the sixth-leading scorer in WNBA with 1,921 points and an average of 15.8 points per game during the 2001 season with the mystics.

Nikki McCray: Olympic Golds

The legendary 1996 USA  women’s basketball team consisted of Nikki As well. She helped the united states of America win two Olympic Gold medals.

The team included prominent members like Katrina McClain, Jennifer Azzi, Lisa Leslie, Teresa Edward’s, and others who had high hopes from American people and the American media.

She won the medal in the 1996 (Atlanta) and 2000 ( Sydney) Olympics. At the 1998 world championships, she also won the gold medal.

Nikki McCray: Coaching Career

Nikki ended her basketball career in 2006 at Chicago sky. Shortly after that, she started her coaching career and joined the Western Kentucky University as an assistant coach.

Many sports personalities have praised her work ethic and her ability to judge and make necessary changes to win a game as a coach.

She’s currently the head coach of Mississippi State Bulldogs. Her colleagues and rivals admire her tenacious attitude towards sports and her never-die attitude.

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Nikki McCray: Accolades And Achievements

Nikki was named three times in WNBA all-star teams (199,2000 and 2001). In the 1996-1997 WNBA season, she was named the most valuable player.

She was inducted into the WNBA hall of fame in 2012 for her outstanding achievements and contributions towards WNBA.

Nikki McCray: Love For Basketball

Her love for basketball started at the young of 11. Her grandmother played a vital role in encouraging her to play basketball, and she used to encourage her to play with the male cousins.

He was a star player in her high school team also.

speaking at the annual Basketball Conference

Her performance earned her the tenth position on the national federation of state high school associations list of all-time high schools.

Her performance in school caught the eye of her future coach, Pat summit. And she helped Nikki to garner her skills and made her even more formidable.

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Battling Cancer and Mothers Support

Nikki was diagnosed with breast cancer in November of 2013. But she took it as any other basketball challenge that she faced during her career.

Even though she was diagnosed with cancer and started her treatment, it wasn’t until January of 2014; she broke out the news.

During her announcement about breast cancer, she quoted, “I’ve got great support from gamecock nation, my family, friends.”

Mothers Support

Her mother also battled breast cancer for 5 years and knew the struggles. McCray’s mother used to come to South Carolina to meet her daughter.

She took a long drive from Collierville, Tennessee, a Memphis suburb of the USA.

Being a survivor of breast cancer, she’s always ahead when attending and making people aware of breast cancer’s effect on people’s lives.

Winning Fight Against Cancer

After battling cancer and winning, she believes cancer has motivated her to change her lifestyle to live a healthy life. She does yoga and mediates to lower her stress.

During her treatment process, she wrote a journal about her cancer journey. She joined a cancer support group and also supported many organizations.

She frequently participates in a different program to raise money for cancer causes and help the people I need.

Nikki McCray: Net Worth

Her major income is her coaching salary from the Mississippi state bulldogs women’s basketball team.

Nikki is worth roughly around 100,000 to 1 million us dollars.

Currently, she is paid roughly 750,000 us dollars annually as per her contract.

Nikki McCray: The Importance Of Motherhood

Nikki doesn’t shy away from the fact that she’s a proud mother and not only a basketball role model.

Being a mother is equally important to her as playing and being on the basketball field.

She is deeply inspired by her late mother, Sally Coleman, as she recalls her mother’s Sunday cooking and gatherings of her friends and family.

She misses her mother’s cooking the most.

Mother’s day also means a lot to her since she was very close with her grandmother, who helped her get into the basketball field.

As you can tell by her career and demeanor, and personality, she was raised by strong women, and eventually, she also became one. She’s been a role model to every other female basketball aspirant.

Nikki McCray: Social Media

Nikki McCray is a frequent social media user, especially Twitter.

You can follow her on Twitter to stay updated with her daily activities. Recently, she post wishing a happy birthday to one of her player.


She shares her team’s news and information; she also posts regularly about her family, mostly her husband and her son.


Where does Nikki McCray coach?

Nikki McCray currently coaches the Mississipi State Bulldogs.

How many Olympic golds does Nikki have?

She won two gold medals; 1996, Atalanta, and 2000, Sydney Olympics.

What type of Cancer did Nikki was diagnosed with?

Nikki was diagnosed with breast cancer. She’s cured as of 2021.

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