“Nobody will ever wear a basketball jersey with the number 10 on it in the history of El Dorado, nobody. So If you have aspirations or if you really want to wear it, sorry it’s going to be his for life.”
Five years removed from playing in his final contest, as a basketball player for El Dorado High School, Daniel Gafford returns to the gym where the magic all started.
I’m honored to have this hanging up in my school, because this is an inspiration to all of the other kids that are coming through here, ” says Gafford.
The pride of El Do, is now immortalized inside of it. The Wildcats retired Gafford’s basketball jersey – and even received a key to the city.
“It’s a dream come true for sure, ” says Gafford. It surprises me day in and day out that I’m in this lifestyle but at the same time I worked for something like this. I stay humble, I stay motivated and I keep pushing forward.”
Throughout the entire ceremony, an emotional Gafford praised his parents for the years of sacrifice and for giving him a push of their own.
“They mean a lot. I’ve got them on my chest right here I’ve got their names tattooed. They broke their back for me, so I’m going to do the same thing for them.”
“It’s amazing, ” says Teresa Fraizer, Daniel’s Mom. “And, I’m still in shock actually to tell you the truth. But, for this to be happening to him its a great joy to see it and I’m just proud of the town of El Dorado for standing behind him and supporting him.”
Who in El Dorado could forget Gafford? During three of his four years in a Wildcat uniform, the team eclipsed 20 wins. At the same time, the former Razorback averaged 15 points and 14 rebounds a game.
“He came in tried out, been in the band, never played before, ” says Gary Simmons, Daniel’s former coach at El Dorado. “To tell you the truth when we got him you could see he was very athletic. We just basically had a plan where everybody took shots and he faced the basket, rebounded it and stuck it back in. He soaked everything up like a sponge and when you told him he just wanted more and wanted more.”
“His success has led him to the top, but he – and evidently everyone else in El Dorado hasn’t forgotten where it all started.”
“I didn’t think I was going to make it this far. I’m not going to lie to you it’s a big surprise to me. Just going as the days go by. I’m just thankful I’m honored I’m grateful for life. I give honor and praise to God, because without him none of this would be possible.”