James Tucker was a two-time All-County basketball player at the old New Market High School in 1949-50, but his lasting fame in athletics came through a legendary career wearing black and white stripes and carrying a whistle. Tucker became one of the best known basketball officials in the history of the Alabama High School Athletic Association. Born on May 7, 1931, Tucker grew up in Hurricane Valley near New Market, where one of the most treasured memories of his childhood was shooting baskets by the light of the moon with my dad and my younger brother, Bobby. His late high school coach, Col. Troy Denver, had a great impact on me as a player and later as I worked for him while serving my country in Korea with the 1169th Combat Group Headquarters Company. Shortly after returning from Korea, Tucker began his career in officiating at the urging of a friend, Tom Meharg. Tucker, W.C. Baker and Marvin Clem soon organized the Rocket City Basketball Officials Association, which later became the North Alabama Association. Tucker was the assigning secretary for a quarter-century and also served as president for five years. He worked closely with the late Cliff Harper of the Alabama High School Athletic Association in those early years and called state tournament games from 1978 until 1983, working several finals. He also officiated three all-star games, assigned officials for the first girls state basketball tournament in 1978, and called the finals. Tucker also worked for nearly 20 years in the Gulf South Conference. He officiated UAHs first home game. Now retired, he continues to serve the AHSAA as an officials observer. I had a great ride with many fond memories, including being part of the integration of high school athletics in the state and helping raise the standards of officiating statewide, Tucker said. But the relationships I developed with fellow referees, the coaches and players were the most important thing. Tucker and his wife, Betty Joe, have two sons, James and Richard.