ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Ron Becker played for the Lobo men’s basketball team from 1967-1970. He is a homegrown player that was born in Farmington and grew up in Roswell, NM. So, playing for UNM was a very meaningful part of Becker’s life.
“It was an unbelievable experience. One that I didn’t really expect to have because when I came to UNM I didn’t really think I would play, I just was glad to be on scholarship. So, it was unbelievable,” said Becker.
In his career at UNM, Becker finished with 1,010 career points, won a WAC Title in 1968, was a part of the first Lobo team to make it to the NCAA Tournament (1968), and was named an Academic All-American three times. Earlier this year Becker got an idea. He wanted to make a ring to commemorate his accomplishments and then pass that ring down through his family.
A friend of Becker named Guy Berger, who is the president of Palms Trading Company, thought this was a good idea, but he also wanted to take it a step further. “We didn’t feel it to be right that someone had to buy their own championship ring, and so we thought if it’s something that he wants and its way overdue, 53 years is a long time to wait for a ring, so we thought we are going to give it to him,” said Berger.
So, without Becker knowing, his family and friends all gathered at the Palms Trading Company on Friday and staged a surprise gifting ceremony. “When Ron came in and I told him we kind of lied to you because we have already done this, his family came out and there were tears all around,” said Berger.
“I didn’t think I was coming in here for that reason, and so it was a very special moment. It blew me away, it was amazing,” said Becker. Becker was pleasantly surprised by the ring, which showcases all of his achievements at UNM.
He is really proud of his Academic All-American honor, as he believes he was one of the first Lobos to earn that honor. He was also able to use his degree from UNM to become a coach. Becker had an illustrious 40-year coaching career, from coaching at UNM as a grad assistant to coaching in Carrizozo, NM, to even coaching in Alaska.
Becker took pride in helping kids in school and in basketball, and what makes this honorary ring even more special is that they integrated a motto that he would always tell his players.
“On the inside of the ring, John Thomas put in something that I used to say and that is, ‘all it takes is all that you’ve got,’ and I tried to pass that down,” said Becker.