REGISTRATION NOW OPEN FOR 2018 DAVE DEBUSSCHERE SCHOLARSHIP

The NBRPA is proud to announce the opening of the 2018 Dave DeBusschere Scholarship application process.  Developed to provide opportunities for higher learning, this program awards college scholarships to NBRPA members, their spouses and  offspring (natural, step, legally adopted or grandchild) to help meet the rising costs of higher education.

To date, the NBRPA has donated more than $1 million in scholarship money to former players and their children. Please review the scholarship timeline and highlighted eligibility requirements listed below.

Earl Lloyd Scholarship: In honor of the recently departed NBA pioneer, Earl Lloyd, the NBA Legends Foundation (Foundation) has pledged an annual, restricted gift to the NBRPA for the purpose of providing significant financial support to low income recipients of the Dave DeBusschere Scholarship. The Lloyd Scholarship will be available to the children and grandchildren of NBRPA members who have played Three (3) full years in the NBA and therefore, eligible to receive assistance from the Foundation.

Please print and review the attached application for a complete list of eligibility requirements, criteria and information on how to complete the application process outlined.

SCHOLARSHIP TIMELINE

May 11, 2018:            Scholarship Applications Distributed to Membership

June 4, 2018:             Applications Due

June 18, 2018:           Applicant Denial Notification

June 25, 2018:           Earl Lloyd Determinations 

July 9, 2018:              Scholarship Recipients Announced

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

In order to qualify as an Eligible Candidate (“Eligible Candidate”), one must be a current NBRPA member, the offspring (natural, step, legally adopted or grandchild) or the spouse of a current NBRPA member.  In addition, the offspring or spouse of a deceased NBRPA member who was in good standing at the time of his or her death will be deemed an Eligible Candidate for Five (5) years after the member’s death.

  • In addition an eligible candidate must be either (1) a high school senior who will graduate in the spring and enter a college, university or certain vocational or technical school within the U.S. that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting association or agency, (2) any high school graduate who has been accepted to an educational institution, or (3) a student currently enrolled full time in such an educational institution who is returning to school the following fall.

 

  • Applicants must have a cumulative GPA of a 2.75 or better to qualify for an award.

 

  • No family member of the NBRPA’s staff will qualify as an Eligible Candidate.

 

Eligible candidates click HERE  to apply 

 

Should you have questions regarding the 2018 Dave DeBusschere Scholarship please contact Excell Hardy at 312.913.9400 or ehardy@legendsofbasketball.com.

NANCY LIEBERMAN, THE BALLER, TRAILBLAZER AND HUMANITARIAN

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last week announced NBRPA board member Nancy Lieberman as a recipient of the 2017 Mannie Jackson – Basketball’s Human Spirit Award. Bob Hurley and Dwyane Wade were also named recipients of the prestigious award which recognizes exceptional humanitarians who have used basketball as a platform to improve the world around them, while creating opportunities for the next generation of leaders.

Lieberman is a basketball trailblazer who has stamped her name throughout the history books. She currently serves as an assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings in addition to her NBRPA duties.

Through Nancy Lieberman Charities, she is committed to promoting healthy lifestyles and developing educational opportunities for economically disadvantaged youth. Since its inception, Nancy Lieberman Charities has served over 3 million children through a variety of programs including college scholarships, laptop and school supply giveaways, and basketball court and playground installations. Over the past 36 years, an additional 4 million children have participated in Nancy Lieberman basketball camps and clinics as well. In 2016, Lieberman developed Kids & Cops Dream Courts, as a means to foster positive relationships between youth and Police Departments across the country, starting with 12 courts and clinics in the Dallas area. Nancy Lieberman Charities continues to be a catalyst for the development of young girls and boys throughout the country by using basketball as a motivational tool.

We sat down with Nancy to discuss the prestigious award, and her impact on and off the basketball court.

What does it mean to be recognized with the Mannie Jackson award?

It is an honor. It is very humbling because Mannie is not only an amazing humanitarian, he is a dear friend of mine. With the list of all of the amazing athletes, I was like “Oh my God!” It is amazing what people are doing and how they care about other people from LeBron [James] to Michael Jordan. They are so selfless. To think that you can be a part of something so special, it’s really exciting. Mannie sets the tone for everyone and he makes you want to live your life a different way.

Undeniably, you were a force on the court. What inspires you to make such an impact off of the court?

What inspires me is my love for children and for giving them a better view of what life can be because I was that kid. I was that poor kid with no father and no food and no heat, and one grandparent away from food stamps. That was me growing up in Far Rockaway [Queens, New York]. I didn’t like it. Basketball and people changed it for me. They changed the narrative of what I didn’t have to what I did have. I feel people’s pain and embarrassment. I know what it’s like. It’s not fun. We want to be an agent for change. We want to do something really special. That’s all I know. I’m generation now and we have a chance to effect generation next.

How do you see the NBRPA effecting change for athletes off the court?

It's scary to retire. We’ve been coddled. We’ve been told how great we are. People have honored us for what we’ve done on the court. It is a scary thing to retire because you lose that insulation. You’re never by yourself on a team. There is always somebody there that is willing to help and to be a part of who and what you are. When you retire and all of a sudden a lot of that is not around you, you can really get lost. You don’t have to lose that team because you have the NBRPA who is going to be there for you no matter what you’re doing in your career. Whether you need help, whether you want to send your kids to college with the Dave DeBusschere Scholarship, whether you need help financially, or whether you need to pick up another vocation. There it is. There is something special about being a part of a team. From our event at Mohegan Sun, that’s pretty cool stuff to say that we could be in a room together with legendary athletes and people that are just a very important part of the game.

What is one thing all athletes should know as they prepare for their next career?

You're not alone. You have a brotherhood and a sisterhood of people all around you that would be there for you. Bernard King and I never played against or with each other but… we are teammates in life. We are not just loving friends who grew up in New York. We are doing life together. Mike Glenn and I are doing life together. Dwight Davis and I are doing life together. Jerome Junkyard Dog and I are doing life together. I miss these guys that we lost. We are so blessed to have each other. And women too! We are learning that our brothers care about us.

LEGENDS OF BASKETBALL AWARDS 73 SCHOLARSHIPS, LARGEST CLASS IN HISTORY

CHICAGO (July 25, 2017) – The National Basketball Retired Players’ Association continues to deliver on its promise to help athletes pursue careers after the ball stops bouncing. In this year alone, the organization will award 73 scholarships to its membership, worth over $250,000 through the Dave DeBusschere Scholarship Fund. This represents a 97 percent increase from just last year, when the organization awarded 37 scholarships in 2016.

The DeBusschere Scholarship was initiated in honor of the late Dave DeBusschere, an NBA Champion, All Star and NBRPA founder. The scholarship provides financial support to eligible NBRPA members, their spouses, children and grandchildren in pursuit of degrees in higher education. To date, the NBRPA has awarded members and their families more than $1.5 million in scholarships through the cornerstone initiative.

“Education is central to the mission of what we do at the NBRPA. It’s the key to the growth, development and essentially success,” said Board Chairman Johnny Newman. “We believe every member of the NBRPA and their family should have access to higher education.”

Some of the DeBusschere scholarship recipients will also receive the Earl Lloyd Scholarship. The NBA Legends Foundation, which provides assistance to players in need, will award 10 recipients a scholarship in excess of $50,000.

See below for a full list of scholarship recipients:
Sam Smith, Tyrell Aponte, University of Arizona 2021
Melvin Bennett, Savanah Bennett, California State Univ., Monterey Bay; USC MSW
Willie Burton, Jaron Burton, Houston Community College 2020
Antoine Carr, Antoine Carr, St. Thomas University 2019
Roger Brown, Jazmyn Carthen, Northern Illinois University 2021
Harvey Catchings, Bryce Catchings, University of Houston 2021
R. Steven Colter, Stephanie Colter, Florida A&M University 2020
Dave Corzine, Samuel Corzine, DePaul University 2018
Mel Counts, Patrick Counts, Chemeketa Community College 2017
Mel Counts, Kaitlin Counts, Idaho State University 2019
Jim Davis, Ryan Davis, Salem State University 2021
Acie Earl, Kenya Earl, Lawrence University 2021
Keith Edmonson, Keith Edmonson, Jr. Concordia University 2018
Brad Branson, Michaela Falzone, Florida State University 2021
Brendan McCann, Mallory Fredericks, Framingham State University 2018
Dave Gambee, Hayden Gambee, University of Arizona 2020
Dave Gambee, Reilly Gambee, University of Arizona 2021
Rickey Green, Kennedy Green, University of Illinois at Springfield 2021
Armintie Herrington, Armintie Herrington, Ole Miss 2019
Steve Hayes, Kristina Hill, College of Southern Idaho 2019
Stephen Howard, Jayda Howard, Wake Forest University 2020
Dwight Jones, Krystal Jackson-Jones, Lonestar College 2020
Buck Johnson, Jamal Johnson, University of Memphis 2021
Ernest Jones, Logan Jones, Eastern Illinois University 2021
Ashley Jones, Kelli Jones, Palm Beach State College
Ashley Jones, Samuel Jones, Florida Atlantic University 2019
Ernest Jones Shoneia Jones, University of Missouri 2018
Ashley Jones, Kaley Jones, Santa Fe State 2018
Caldwell Jones, Maya Jones, Spelman College 2019
Harold Keeling, Anthony Keeling, University of Georgia 2019
Alton Lister, Alexa Lister, Arizona State University 2019
Steve Hayes, Stefani McClanahan, Colorado Northwestern Community College 2018
Timothy McCormick, Danielle McCormick, Grand Valley State University 2019
Timothy McCormick, Timothy McCormick, Lewis University Part-time
Chris McNealy, Jaylan McNealy, University of Southern California 2018
Todd Mitchell, Noelle Mitchell, University of Kentucky 2019
Sidney Moncrief, Takisha Moncrief, Dallas Baptist University 2019
Elgin Baylor, Chayenne Monthe, Towson University 2021
Eathan O’Bryant, Elijah O’Bryant, Linfield College 2021
Geoff Huston, Liana Pachot, Southern New Hampshire University 2021
Cherokee Parks, Rachel Parks, Colorado State 2018
Eldridge Recasner, Sydney Recasner, University of Southern California 2019
Frederick Roberts, Samuel Roberts, University of Utah 2021
James Robinson, Dalia Robinson, University of Alabama 2017
Bradley Sellers, Syarra Sellers, Siena Heights University 2021
Elmore Smith, Elmore Smith, Kentucky State
Michael Smith, Karch Smith, Brigham Young University 2019
Mike Smrek, Luke Smith, Marquette University 2020
Eric Snow, Eric Javon, Snow UT Dallas 2021
Greg Kite, McKenzie Stock, Nebraska Methodist College School of Nursing 2018
Darrall Imhoff, Forest Stolk, New Hope Christian College 2018
Ann Strother, Ann Strother, Regis university 2018
Reggie Theus, Reginald Theus, Cal State University 2018
Reggie Theus, Rhyan Theus, Arizona 2020
Irving Thomas, Jr., Jazmine Thomas, Spelman College 2021
Billy Thompson, Micaiah Thompson, University of Central Florida 2021
Andy Toolson, Conner Toolson, Utah Valley University 2019
Andy Toolson, Dallin Toolson, Clackamas Community College
Andrew Toolson, Trevor Toolson, Brigham Young University 2021
Patrena Trice-Hill, Kiana Trice-Hill, Hofstra University (Graduate Level) 2018
Reagan Tripucka, Reagan Tripucka, Coastal Carolina University 2020
Jim Tucker, Jade Tucker, University of Wisconsin- Superior 2018
Stanley Von Nieda, Jonathan Von Nieda, BYU-Idaho 2018
Stanley Von Nieda, Tristan Von Nieda, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology 2019
David Wood, Caleb Wood, University of Pennsylvania 2018
David Wood, Josiah Wood, Western Oregon or Alaska Anchorage University 2019
Michael Smith, Madeleine Ziering, Brigham Young University 2018
Michael Smith, Matthew Ziering, Brigham Young University 2020

About the National Basketball Retired Players Association

The National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) is comprised of former professional basketball players from the NBA, ABA, WNBA, and Harlem Globetrotters. It is a 501(c) 3 organization with a mission to develop, implement and advocate a wide array of programs to benefit its members, supporters and the community. The NBRPA was founded in 1992 by basketball legends Dave DeBusschere, Dave Bing, Archie Clark, Dave Cowens, and Oscar Robertson. The NBRPA works in direct partnerships with the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association. Scott Rochelle is Acting President and CEO, and the NBRPA Board of Directors includes Chairman of the Board Johnny Newman, Vice Chairman Spencer Haywood, Treasurer Casey Shaw, Secretary Nancy Lieberman, Dwight Davis, Mike Glenn, Rick Barry, James Donaldson, LaRue Martin Jr., David Naves, and Eldridge Recasner.

NBA Legends To be Honored at 2017 Legends Awards Gala

NATE ARCHIBALD, BERNARD KING, DIKEMBE MUTOMBO TO BE HONORED AT
2017 LEGENDS AWARDS GALA ON JULY 22
Archibald, King and Sam Perkins to also lead panel discussion on New York City basketball

CHICAGO (July 17, 2017) – Basketball legends, Nate Archibald, Bernard King and Dikembe Mutombo will be recognized for their work off the court during the National Basketball Retired Players’ Association’s Legends Awards Gala on Saturday, July 22. The Naismith Hall of Fame inductees will accept their awards during the event at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn.

Nate “Tiny” Archibald’s contributions to the game were huge. He was the only man to ever lead the NBA in scoring and assists in a single season until James Harden accomplished the feat this past season. During his 14-year NBA career, Archibald earned six NBA All-Star appearances and a World Championship title with the Boston Celtics. Also known for his big heart, he will accept the Lifetime of Service Award. In his second career, he returned to New York City to run basketball schools for underprivileged kids, and to serve as athletic director at the Harlem Armory homeless shelter until it closed in 1991. Archibald was honored for his work with the city's youth by then New York City Mayor David Dinkins in 1993.

Bernard King, the former Knicks great who ruled the court, will receive the Perseverance Award. Despite knee injuries, he was a prolific scorer and proved to be unstoppable on the offensive end. He led the NBA in scoring during his 1984-85 campaign and averaged better than 22 points for his career. King ended his career as a four-time NBA All-Star and two-time All-NBA First Team performer, having collected more than 19,000 points during his career.

Gala Attendees will have an opportunity to hear from the New York City hoops giants, Archibald and King, along with Sam Perkins during a panel discussion. Perkins, of the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame, had a successful 17-year NBA career before he was named vice president of player relations to the Indiana Pacers in 2008.

The final award of the evening, the Ambassador of the Year Award, will be presented to Dikembe Mutombo, one of the greatest shot blockers and defensive players in NBA history. In his 18-year career, Mutombo earned four defensive player of the year awards, six All-Defensive team awards, and second place in the NBA record books for total career blocks. Post-NBA Mutombo dedicated his life to service. He started the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation to improve living conditions in his native Democratic Republic of Congo, which earned the NBA's J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2001 and 2009. Dikembe was also elected as one of 20 winners of the President's Service Awards, the nation's highest honor for volunteer service in 1999.

The Legends Awards Gala serves as a vehicle to raise funds for the NBRPA’s Dave DeBusschere Scholarship Fund. The DeBusschere Fund provides financial support to eligible NBRPA members, their spouses, children and grandchildren in pursuit of degrees in higher education. To date, the organization has awarded members and their families more than $1.5 million in scholarships through the cornerstone initiative. In 2017, the NBRPA will deliver a record-setting 70 scholarships, worth $250,000.

Some of the DeBusschere scholarship recipients will also receive the Earl Lloyd Scholarship. The NBA Legends Foundation, which provides assistance to players in need, will award 10 recipients a scholarship in excess of $50,000.

Media Contact:
Brad Shulkin
Brad.shulkin@kemperlesnik.com
847.894.1808

About the National Basketball Retired Players Association
The National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) is comprised of former professional basketball players from the NBA, ABA, WNBA, and Harlem Globetrotters. It is a 501(c) 3 organization with a mission to develop, implement and advocate a wide array of programs to benefit its members, supporters and the community. The NBRPA was founded in 1992 by basketball legends Dave DeBusschere, Dave Bing, Archie Clark, Dave Cowens, and Oscar Robertson. The NBRPA works in direct partnerships with the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association. Scott Rochelle is Acting President and CEO, and the NBRPA Board of Directors includes Chairman of the Board Johnny Newman, Vice Chairman Spencer Haywood, Treasurer Casey Shaw, Secretary Nancy Lieberman, Dwight Davis, Mike Glenn, Rick Barry, James Donaldson, LaRue Martin Jr., David Naves, and Eldridge Recasner.

NBA Fit Clinic wrapped up the weekend In New York

The National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) brought its Full Court Press: Prep For Success program to New York at the Edward Byrne Center on Saturday, June 24th along with several partners including the Jr. NBA, Police Athletic/Activities League (PAL), Leadership Foundations, and Strategies For Youth.
Legends participating in the clinic included Tiny Archibald, Tony Campbell, Teresa Edwards, Kym Hampton, Tom Hoover, Bobby Hunter, and Albert King. While the Legends focused on basketball drills and lessons, the NBRPA partners focused on life lessons off the court. The players also participated in an NBA Fit clinic as a part of Dew3X event on June 25 from 9:30am to 10:30am at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Tom Hoover, New York Chapter President for the NBRPA, spent the day mentoring the kids on behalf of his organization. He boasted of the day’s activities and how he connected with the kids at the clinic, “Kids are always looking for that person who has done something that they are trying to achieve: it is very alluring if the person happens to be a former star player,” he said. “If you just look the kids in the face then there will be no issues.”

The Full Court Press: Prep for Success program will next visit San Diego, CA in July.

About the National Basketball Retired Players Association
The National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) is comprised of former professional basketball players from the NBA, ABA, WNBA, and Harlem Globetrotters. It is a 501(c) 3 organization with a mission to develop, implement and advocate a wide array of programs to benefit its members, supporters and the community. The NBRPA was founded in 1992 by basketball legends Dave DeBusschere, Dave Bing, Archie Clark, Dave Cowens and Oscar Robertson. The NBRPA works in direct partnerships with the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association. Scott Rochelle is Acting President and CEO, and the NBRPA Board of Directors includes Chairman of the Board Dwight Davis, Vice Chairman Mike Glenn, Treasurer Casey Shaw, Secretary Nancy Lieberman, Rick Barry, James Donaldson, Spencer Haywood, LaRue Martin Jr., David Naves, Johnny Newman, and Eldridge Recasner.

Legends Spotlight: Ruben Patterson

How did you get involved with the Big3 League? I got a phone call from Keyon [Martin] and Stephen Jackson and a couple guys letting me know that Ice Cube was doing this three-on-three basketball league. This is a wonderful opportunity for us guys to get back out there and compete and play against each other. It was an honor when I went to Vegas and saw Cuttino [Mobley], Rashard [Lewis], Mike Bibby; I can go on and on and on with the guys I used to compete with throughout my NBA career. Just to see guys still in good shape, guys still love the game and guys still ready to play. It’s a blessing for Ice Cube to come up with this league for us to go out there and our fans can see us and see we’re still in great shape, see that we can still play the game and just compete! So I’m looking forward to June 25th.

You mentioned a lot of former plays who were in shape and ready at the Big3 Combine that was held in April. Which players were you most impressed by at the combine? A lot of them! I mean there were so many guys down there, like forty-two or forty-three guys. But everybody looked great. I mean there were so many [laughter], I can’t go name by name; everybody looked great.

Were there any players who didn’t get drafted that you were surprised by based on how they performed in the combine? My guy, Earl Boykins. A good friend of mine; we’re from Cleveland, Ohio and we grew up together in AAU basketball. I think he was one of the guys that should have got drafted, but you know three-on-three, I think it’s just you’ve got to guard. You’ve got to be physical. I think his size was the only thing that might have kept him from getting drafted. But Earl Boykins was a heck of a player. That’s my guy, he’s the only one I wish that would’ve got drafted.

How do you think that a three-on-three basketball league will be received by NBA fans? Especially coming off the NBA Finals where people will be craving more basketball. You know what, it’s going to be wonderful. Let me tell you one thing: watching my hometown Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James, he just get me hyped for this three-on-three! It’s going to be good for the fans and everybody else because after the Finals there’s nothing to watch on TV. You know, we don’t want to watch that baseball all summer. So coming up with this situation with the three-on-three, it’s going to be good for the fans and everybody out there with a chance to see basketball for the next two months.

What will it mean to you personally to get to play team basketball on national television again? It’s a blessing. God get all the glory. If it weren’t for Him, we probably wouldn’t be in this situation and Cube probably wouldn’t have thought about this. It’s going to be great for everyone! My kids were babies when I was playing in the NBA, so now they can see their daddy compete and play against the best again.

There’s going to be plenty of legendary players who are going to be the coaches for these teams. Allen Iverson is going to be your coach. Are there any of those coaches that you grew up idolizing? Yeah! Clyde Drexler. I played with Gary Payton in Seattle from 1999-2000. You know Charles Oakley is from Cleveland, Ohio. Rick Mahorn, the Bad Boy. [Julius] Erving, I grew up as a kid watching him. The “Iceman” [George Gervin]. Rick Barry. I mean there are straight legends that are going to be coaches, and from watching those guys when I was little, I’m like wow! To have those guys on the sidelines is going to be great too.

Are there anything of those guys you haven’t met before that you can’t wait to meet? No I’ve met them all before throughout my career. They’ve been to a lot of games, so I’ve met them all. I mean it’s cool [laughter].

You were drafted by Team 3’s Company. What’s the team dynamic at this point? Have you all started practicing or organizing anything yet? Not really. Our job right now is to work out and stay in shape. We’re all professionals, we all played in the league and we know how to play the game. You go there, you defend, you help, you bang, you sweat and you do all the dirty work. But we will have some time to get together and practice with each other. Probably have some little plays for each other, and once we do that we’ll be fine.

You were drafted 21st out of 24 total picks. Do you feel like you have something to prove, like a “chip” on your shoulder? [laughter] Nah not really because when I got drafted in the NBA, I was the second pick in the second round and I made a name for myself on competing. So I’m just going out there and playing hard and doing what I have to do. Like I said, I’m going to have fun playing with these guys again and just competing. I love basketball, we all love basketball.

You started your career with the Lakers and finished with the Clippers, and in Week 8 of the season, the Big3 League is coming to the Staples Center. What will it mean to get to play in front of that LA crown again? Uhh well, hopefully Kobe [Bryant] will be there [laughter]. I’m worldwide with this “Kobe Stopper” stuff. But I still get some love from L.A., and hopefully a lot of the NBA guys come out and support us because this is something special for us to be able to go out there and compete and play. And a lot of general managers and everybody can still see that these guys can still play the game. I mean it’s just a blessing.

We’re going to shift gears now from the Big3 League to the Retire Players Association. The last time we interviewed you in 2015, you were going back to school to finish you degree. Where are you at with that part of your post-NBA journey? I’m still working on that, I haven’t gotten that far yet. That’s still my goal; to finish school. But since I’ve been here in Jacksonville, Florida it’s been basically training, helping my kids at the Potter’s House Christian Academy School and just trying to stay focused. But I’ve finally gotten a chance to look at some schools, if not here, I’m going back to Cincinnati.

You mentioned earlier that you were doing some coaching as well. How has that been going? It’s been going really well. This is my second year coaching now. Watching these high school kids now is just unbelievable. I’ll be like, “What are they feeding these kids?” They’re all like 6’8” or 6’9”. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the big fella Udoka [Azubuike], he was with Kansas this year. I coached him last year; seeing him at Kansas, even though he broke his hand, he’s ready to compete. A lot of our kids are going to college and graduating, so I’m just proud of everyone.

How has the NBRPA helped you with that transition into getting your degree and coaching? It’s helped me tremendously because that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to teach the game, teach these young kids and help these kids who are trying to get where I’m at, or trying to be a Kobe Bryant or [Allen] Iverson or LeBron James. I just tell them what it takes and how important school really is. Without grades, without doing the right things, you won’t be successful. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don’t take care of school, you’ll just be another guy on the street. It was a blessing for me to be around my high school kids here in Jacksonville, Florida for the last two years and they look up to me. They see my highlights and I tell them, “For you to be successful, you’ve got to take care of school,” and they’re really doing that too.

So based on your experiences, why do you think former players should join the NBRPA? Because it will definitely help them out. It will help them get the next gig to be successful because there’s so much going on in our world today. We just want to make sure our kids are going to school, living right, doing the right things and following their dreams. That really helped me out because when [the NBRPA] called and left a message, I reached out to Excell [Hardy] and said this is something I wanted to do. And it was an honor for me to do it and continue to do it.

25th Anniversary Spotlight: Full Court Press Program

The National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) was established in 1992 to assist former NBA, WNBA, ABA and Harlem Globetrotter players in their transition from the playing court to life after the game. Since the NBRPA’s inception, it has been no secret that its members have donated countless hours of community service through basketball and life skills events. In 2013, the NBRPA’s Board of Directors recognized a desire within its membership to formalize its dedication to community service by broadening the mission of assisting former players in life after basketball to also include impacting communities and youth through basketball. With the expansion of the NBRPA’s historic mission, the association saw the need to establish a flagship program with a sole focus on fulfilling their commitment to giving back. The expansion of the NBRPA mission led to the creation of the Full Court Press: Prep for Success Youth Basketball and Mentoring Program.

Full Court Press: Prep for Success is a single–day youth basketball and mentoring clinic for underserved boys and girls, ages 8-18, held in cities across the United States and abroad. The program is designed to support the development of participating young people both on and off the court through basketball instruction, mentoring roundtables and an innovative life skills curriculum. Youth spend 50 percent of their programming time on the court and 50 percent of their day in the classroom.

Each Full Court Press (FCP): Prep for Success event is uniquely designed to fit the community it serves. Some events take place at NBA team facilities, while others are held at local colleges or recreations centers. The touring program visits 10 -15 cities annually and includes at least four NBRPA Members that serve as coaches and mentors in each session. The mentoring topics for each session are chosen based on age, community demographics and localized issues.

Cities visited by FCP in its inaugural season (2013) included: San Diego, CA; Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI; Charlotte, NC; New York, NY; Los Angeles, CA; Philadelphia, PA; Boston, MA; Miami, FL; Orlando, FL; Seattle, WA; and Dallas, TX. Since the inaugural season, FCP has held more than 50 clinics. Some notable NBRPA members that have participated in FCP include NBA and WNBA alum Nate Archibald, Derrick Coleman, Shameka Christon, Andrienne Goodson, Kym Hampton, Robert Horry, Bob McAdoo, Sam Perkins, Jalen Rose and Quacy Timmons to name a few.

In 2017, the FCP program will host an additional 15 clinics with its partners Jr. NBA, Police Athletic/Activities League (PAL), Leadership Foundations, and Strategies for Youth. The Jr. NBA, is the NBA’s youth basketball participation program. FCP features the Jr. NBA’s curriculum that teaches the fundamental skills of the game in an effort to help grow and improve the youth basketball experience for players, coaches and parents. PAL is a national youth crime prevention program that brings youth and law enforcement together in a positive environment that promotes trust and respect for each other. The Leadership Foundations is a global network of organizations working to transform cities in which they exist and serve. Strategies for Youth (SFY) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving police/youth interactions and reducing disproportionate minority contact. Collectively, each of the before mentioned FCP partners assist in supporting the NBRPA’s mission to positively impact communities locally and abroad through basketball.

Please visit www.legendsofbasketball.com for more information on FCP dates near you!

 

Legends Spotlight: Marcus Banks

How did you get involved with the Big3 League? It’s kind of a word-of-mouth thing; more of a fraternity for the NBA guys. Being around Stephen Jackson, Kenyon Martin, Chauncey Billups and guys like that, the word gets around and that’s how you get the idea of what’s going on. Of course you have to do your due diligence after that and go and figure out how you’re going to get involved.

How do you think that a three-on-three basketball league will be received by NBA fans? Especially in the summertime when they’re craving more basketball. I think it’ll be amazing. I think the fans will have pretty much a great time; [this gives] them a chance to see a lot of the guys that they still want to see play. A lot of the guys still have a lot in the tank left. I think it’s going to be really fun to reconnect with the fans and give them the opportunity to be up close and personal, and hear a little bit of the trash talk.

You mentioned that fans will get to see the guys they haven’t seen in a while and the Big3 Combine was in April. Which players were you most impressed by during that combine? It’s basketball; it’s pretty much like riding a bike for these guys because you’ve been doing it all of your life. But I was impressed with the guys that kept themselves in shape. After the career of basketball a lot of guys get stuck in the middle and don’t know what they want to do. You gain a little weight [and] you’ve got the kids running around. But for me, I admire the guys that stayed in shape.

Who were those guys that kept in shape and stood out amongst the rest? Kenyon [Martin] and all those guys are in shape. Stephen Jackson, of course; he’s a monster, he’s in the gym every day. Ricky Davis, Corey Maggette, even Al Harrington. For those guys to still be playing, still be active and have the kind of game and patience; this three-on-three [league] is really going to put guys on the island. So we will see who’s been in the lab and who hasn’t [laughter].

All of those guys you just mentioned were drafted. Were there any players that you were impressed by who didn’t get drafted? I mean there were so many guys. You had Joe Smith, Smush Parker; [Parker] was one of the younger guys but when it comes to three-on-three, you only have so many picks. But he stood out to me because he was one of the young guys that is kind of still playing a little bit and still active. He played pretty well to me, so I was kind of shocked he didn’t get drafted.

You were drafted by the Ghost Ballers with the 9th overall pick. Mike Bibby and Ricky Davis are the team captains. What’s the team dynamic at this point? Have you guys started practicing at all? We’ve been talking a little bit. Of course me and Ricky played a lot together and over the last year, me and Mike have been playing together a little bit. Mike, he’s going to be stationary, do some spot-up shooting and he’ll lead with his veteran leadership style. We’ve got a couple other young guys in Ivan Johnson, and of course we have Mo Evans. At the end of the day for him and Ricky, for those guys to be the two and three [guards], we’re going to be picking-and-rolling [laughter] and spreading that thing out going one-on-one. This is the fun part now.

The head man for your team will be the “Iceman” George Gervin. There will be other legendary basketball players that serve as head coaches in the Big3 League. Are there any legends in this league that you idolized growing up or that you can’t wait to meet? All of them! Just being in those guys’ presence is a great thing; having those Hall of Famers. For us to just be around those guys and enjoy their company and get a chance to have some knowledge of the game spilled down that those guys experienced in their time playing, I think that’s what it’s really all about. It’s like what I said earlier about this being a big fraternity.

You were considered a bit of a “journeyman” in the league, playing with a couple different teams and overseas. Do you feel like you have something to prove by playing in the Big3 League? Nah, it’s basketball. Like I said, I play basketball. I’ll go over the sun, under the moon [laughter], anyway to play this game. So as far as being a journeyman, at the end of the day you know it’s every player that would love to be in that position. I know a lot of guys that don’t get a chance to see the things that guys like myself and other guys that have from playing on a number of teams. I think it’s a pretty good situation.

The Big3 League Championship game is going to be in Las Vegas this year. I know this is looking down the line, but what would it mean for you to play in front of your hometown? Um, nothing [laughter]. It’s basketball; you line ‘em up, you knock ‘em down. It’s something that I have been doing for a long time, and it doesn’t change no matter where you play it at. The ball is still round, the hoop is still ten feet, if I can remember it’s still the same [laughter]. At the end of the day, the three-point line is still the same. But you know they added a 4-point shot, so that will be really fun [laughter].

Switching gears from the Big3 to the National Basketball Retired Players Association: you’re one of our newer members, so we wanted to welcome you! What was it about the NBRPA that made you want to join? Mainly just trying to get a handle on exactly what I’m trying to do, you know what I mean, when I grow up [laughter]. Basketball pretty much blanketed me for so long the last fifteen years; that’s pretty much all guys know when they finished. But there comes a time when you have to grow up and become a man and you want to figure out the next steps in life. I’m trying to give back as much as possible and start to give back to the game. I can offer mentorship to any of the younger guys coming into the league as far as what you have to do, when you have to do it. Playing fifteen years, it gives me an opportunity to see different things and it’s good to give back to the guys coming in so they have a much easier path because growing up, I didn’t get too much of that. Why not give back?

That’s great! I read that you participated in the first NBRPA Broadcast Boot Camp in 2016 and you have some experience with NBA TV in Qatar. What is it about the broadcast industry that make you want to pursue it? I just like spreading the knowledge of the game. It’s not so much the broadcasting part. I’ve been a student of the game for so long, played behind a lot of great point guards and was able to watch the game from a different perspective. It’s kind of like a coach’s perspective on the bench to learn different things like that. Now commentating and broadcasting has always been something that I’ve like doing no matter what; it was solid.

Can you speak to how has the NBRPA helped you in broadcasting and coaching? They just pretty much make it very easy and very reachable for the players. They give you all of the information and they’re very helpful. They explain everything and make it easy for the guys who are transitioning to what they’re actually trying to do after basketball. If you would just take the time to make a phone call here or there or read over an email, I think it’s in perfect black and white. I actually hope and wish that a lot more players get involved with the [Retired] Players Association and things like that because they definitely make life easier.

Legends Spotlight: Lee Nailon

How did you get involved with the Big3 League? Through a mutual friend [Eddie Robinson] who called me and asked me what I’ve been doing since last time I stopped playing ball. I just told him that I’ve been training kids and finishing up my degree.
I think this was like five or six months before it even launched, he was like, “Do you think that this is something you’d want to do?”
“Well, I have not played or did any type of basketball workouts in a while.”
“You know you’ve got like six months to get in shape or whatever. You should think about it and give me a call back.”
So I called him back a week later, and I was like, “I think I want to do it.” And he said, “Ok, so I’m going to put you on the list for tryouts.”

How do you think that a three-on-three league will be received by NBA fans this summer, especially coming off of the NBA Finals and craving more basketball? Well actually, you know [three-on-three basketball] is kind of big overseas. So to be honest I look at it kind of like soccer overseas and how they brought it over here [in the United States]. It’s a new brand of basketball and I think the U.S. will start to pay more attention as it grows and gets more well-known names playing for the TV deals to make sense and to get the most out of it. I think this is something that a lot of kids should watch because three-on-three basketball, when I was growing up, was the way to learn how to move, cut, pass and play together. So I think it’ll help the younger kids learn more about playing together, don’t settle for threes so much and move the ball and move your bodies too. So I think it’s a new brand of ball and but everything’s a process and I’m just happy to be a part of the first one, and hopefully more to come.

What does it mean to get to play team basketball again on national television? Playing in the NBA is the highest of high, so of course I kind of miss playing on TV just because it brings more; it’s like another crowd to the game. Once you know you’ve got a TV game, everybody gets up for that game and there’s just more competitive juices flowing in you to compete and do well. The TV deal was another side that I had to take in consideration. FOX is big on sports so it’s good for the brand too, and they were the first to jump on it. I think it’s going to take off. Ice Cube, he’s a big part of it. From spending time with him, I think he really thinks that this is going to be something for years to come.

The Big3 Combine was just held in April. Were there any players that you were particularly impressed with? To be honest, over half of the guys were in shape. It kind of shocked me. It really put me back into being a professional athlete again because I’m like “Whoa!” I wasn’t naive to come in like “Oh, everybody is going to be out of shape.” But I didn’t think that many guys still played at that age. So it kind of shocked me, impressed me, and woke my competitive side back up to really take this more seriously than people are thinking it’s going to be.

Were there any specific players that come to mind about how in shape or how prepared they were? Cuttino Mobley looked good. Stephen Jackson looked good. Kenyon Martin looked good. Ricky Davis, Rashad Lewis, the list goes on and on. All the guys that are actually on the teams and a few other guys that didn’t make the team, unfortunately, were in shape. But that’s why I think it’s going to be a good league because all of the guys are not just coming for the money or to get on TV. These guys want to win. I think it’s going to be a great time for fans and for us.

There’s also going to be legendary players that are going to be the coaches on the teams. Dr. J is going to be your coach for Team Tri-State. Were any of these legends ones that you idolized grew up idolizing? There’s not really one because growing up in Indiana we just liked basketball. I’m from South Bend, Indiana, so the Bulls was my team in the Michael Jordan era. But I like the Pacers; I just like basketball. So for me it’s not just one person, I just like being around greatness. I’m going to see if I can just pick their brains and see how they feel about different situations for my career going forward, as far as being a coach and having more knowledge for the game.

You were taken with the 13th pick by Team Tri-State, and Jermaine O’Neal and Bonzi Wells are going to be the captains. What’s the team dynamic at this point? Have you guys started practicing or meeting at all? Yeah we’ve been talking and we’ve met a few times. Really, it’s not that we have a certain way we want to play. I think it’s more of match ups and who we’re playing [against] and schemes; how we play different guys. Like I said, all the guys are taking it seriously and everybody on my team is in shape. If we had a game tomorrow we could play, you know? So that’s the good thing about it.

You played for 7 different teams in the NBA as well as overseas for about 8 years; do you feel like you have something to prove in the Big3 League? To be honest, I just never thought I would play against my coworkers again. So for me it’s a blessing that I get to play again. Every time I step on the court, I always want to prove something to myself and the guys that I’m playing against or with. I just like competing at a high level and to me, the Big3 is the highest level so far.

You’ve played in Italy, Israel, Russia, Lebanon and Puerto Rico; your overseas career is pretty extensive and very impressive. What did you learn about yourself both as a player and as a person in that time overseas? Man, to never take what you have for granted, to make the most out of your opportunities, and be humble and be thankful. When I was over there it really opened my eyes to – I mean when you’re in the NBA, you get naive and say “I can go somewhere else and do this, do that. Forget this, forget that.” But at the end of the day once you’re in a different situation, and I didn’t say overseas was bad, but the NBA is the NBA. So when you get taken out of that situation, it really humbles you and it make me want to work harder just to get back to where I was.

Was there a favorite country in particular that you liked to play in and live in? Israel was probably the best country; I could live there for the rest of my life. It’s more Americanized. They love Americans. They didn’t look at anybody like they were different from themselves; they looked at everybody the same.

You had a standout career at TCU, and in Week 6 of the season the Big3 is coming to Dallas to play. What does it mean for you to get to come home and play in front of that fan base again? The most important thing I remember [from playing at TCU] were the fans, how every night we played there it was sold out. It was just packed! I watch it now and it’s not like how it used to be so I always was so thankful and grateful that the fans were always on my side and they always believed in our team. But I’ve always had the dream to either coach at TCU or coach in the NBA; these are my two goals. I’ve always wanted to be a coach, I always want to give back to kids and help as much as I can. So it will definitely be a pleasure to play in front of my old fans, just have fun, show them a good time and show them that I’ve still got it.

That was a perfect segue into my next question. Where are you at in your life as far as coaching and other endeavors? Right now I’m finishing up my degree; I’ll be finished within the next couple weeks or so. Since I’ve been doing that I’ve been training kids and coaching AAU ball. I coach the AAU team YGC36, the Marcus Smart team. But all I’ve been doing really is training and conditioning my mind and just trying to stay on the path that God gave me. I believe that he wants me to give back to kids and help kids reach their ultimate goal. Whether that’s college or at the professional level. That’s all I want to do and that’s all I’m about really. I just love coaching, love smelling the gym, love being around it. It’s just crazy how as a kid I never thought I would be a coach, but as you grow and you play and do something for your whole life, it just turns you into a whole different person; on and off the court.

How has the Retired Players Association impacted your life in terms of trying to attain those goals and help shape where you’re at right now? When I was in the NBA there wasn’t a Retired Player’s Union. If there was, it wasn’t loud. But it’s good for a person like me to play in the NBA for seven years and then go overseas for the remainder of my career; a lot of the guys tend to forget who you are and what you did. So for me it’s a way to build another platform to show the world, my coworkers and colleagues that this is something that I’ve been doing, this is what I’ve been working towards to get to this level now. This program has just helped me build my platform even more. I’m so thankful and grateful that you guys reached out to me to even be a part of the family.

That’s what we’re here for! I’m going to get you out of here with this last question. What’s the best advice that you have ever received in your career? If you work at something hard enough it can happen. Never give up on what you think is right for yourself and for your lifestyle. If you believe that’s what you’re supposed to do, then put your all into it. If not, then don’t do it. If you feel like you can’t put a one hundred percent into something, then that’s probably not something you love to do. I put one hundred and ten percent into everything that I do as far as basketball, training and giving back, so I know for a fact that this is what I want to do.

And that’s why we’ll be watching you ball all summer long in the Big3 Tournament and we can’t wait to watch you play. Balling baby, here we come! To a city near you!

Legends Spotlight: Jerome Williams

How did you get involved with the Big3 League? Well I actually found out about it seeing Ice Cube on ESPN promoting the league. From there I talked to my friend Roger Mason, who is the commissioner [of the Big3 League], and he spoke about some opportunities to get involved with the Big3 in a number of different capacities. Basically, I live in Las Vegas and I heard that they were out in Las Vegas doing a combine [at UNLV in the Mendenhall Center] the night before. I went up there and actually they gave me a jersey. I wasn’t prepared for that! I was walking around with my jersey; I didn’t do any drills, I didn’t warm up, I didn’t take any shots, but I was having fun interacting with my fellow comrades.

When it was over, FOX5 and FS1 Sports were doing a quick filming of an actual game. They wanted to simulate an entire three-on-three game and needed an extra player, so they asked me to play, and upon a 30-minute stretch I went out there. I was playing with Corey Maggette and Cuttino Mobley, who ended up drafting me with the #6 pick in the first round. So to make a long story short, I must have made some sort of impression [laughter] on those two captains and co-captains of the Team Power in the Big3 and the rest was history.

I’ve already interviewed a couple of former players who are going to play in the Big3 League, and you by far had the best story of how you made it onto a team [laughter]. You talked about playing with Corey Maggette and subsequently were drafted by his team. What’s the team dynamic at this point? Have you guys started practicing yet? Two days ago I was in LA and we had another game that we simulated. It was myself, Ruben Patterson, Andre Owens and Demarr Johnson versus Keyon Martin, Rashad McCants, Rashard Lewis and Larry Hughes. Kenyon Martin might have scored 7 points total, but his trash-talking was probably worth another 10-15 because he was unlimited! And he had Gary Payton as his coach, so that’s like double the trash-talk! The confines of being able to play defense in a limited amount of space, being able to create continuity with guys, it’s really tough to give one team a clear advantage over the other. Obviously there are players who might be better in certain areas and different things, but when you condense it to half court and then add a four-point shot and these other dynamics, the hand-checking and trash-talking, it becomes something serious.

It’s exciting because you get to see guys like Allen Iverson, “White Chocolate” [Jason Williams], Jermaine O’Neal; the names in the league are former All-Stars and Hall of Fame coaches like the “Iceman” [George Gervin], “Dr. J” [Julius Erving], Clyde “The Glide” [Drexler]. I mean where are you going to get to see all these guys at one time? It’s not like we’re going to separate cities and separate continents, we’re all in one gym at one time for all the fans to see. It’s great!

You’re like a human billboard for this! So were there any players in particular that impressed you at the Big3 Combine? Yeah definitely! Andre Owens and Rashad McCants; they were the top two picks in the draft and they came ready to play. These guys can still play in the NBA if they wanted to. They’re a lot younger; did I mention that I’m the second oldest player in the entire league at 44? I don’t know what I’m doing out here [laughter]. But I’m having fun, I’m bringing back the Dog Pound. But those two players were definitely the most impressive based on what they are able to do offensively in the half court setting, it’s tremendous. Rashard Lewis; I mean he still looks like he’s 19 jumping above the rim, hitting threes. He hit a four-point shot on me, I was like “No!” [laughter]. He almost hit a four-point shot on me to win the game, luckily he missed and then I was able to get the final bucket to win the game.

Were there any players who you were impressed by that didn’t get drafted? Probably Joe Smith and Etan Thomas. I was pretty shocked when both of those guys didn’t get picked. Also my former teammate, Kendall Gill. When he came in there he was in playing shape. We played together with the Chicago Bulls.

You mentioned earlier the legendary players that will be coaching these three-on-three teams. Did you grow up idolizing any of these players?
Absolutely! Those first three I named. Dr. J was my mentor before I even got to the league. “Iceman” George Gervin, I mean everybody had the poster; he’s cold with it! And then Clyde “The Glide,” everybody got a touch of his aerial tactics. Those guys are synonymous with class and Hall of Fame attributes. Then you got your favorites like Gary Payton, Charles Oakley my former teammate in Toronto and battles with him in New York. Of course my big pops Rick Mahorn; he’s the one who gave me my nickname “The Junkyard Dog.” To see him coaching now is crazy [laughter].

What will it mean to you to get to play team basketball on national television again? You know it’s one of those things where you feel really honored and blessed that the lord even allows me to be able to play at this age at a high level and competition on national television. It’s going to mean a lot. My kids were too young when I was playing in the NBA, they were two and three years old. So they don’t fully remember them going to the games. But now they get a chance to see what the Dog Pound is really about when I step back out there on the court and hear those dogs barking in all these cities. That’s when it’s going to come back to reality to them like “Oh no, this is what it was” [laughter].

I didn’t know, until you said so, that you were the second oldest player in this league. Do you feel like you have something to prove by playing in the Big3 League? Like showing the other guys you’ve still got it despite the age? Absolutely! You’ve got to tell them man! Yep second-oldest next to Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf who was drafted in the third round and he’s 47 and I’m 44. I can admit there’s a lot of fans out there that were cheering for me as far as barking in my Dog Pound that wish I never stopped playing. I stopped playing at the age of 31 or 32 back in 2005. I haven’t played in front of a crowd for money since 2005. I’ve done charity games; I’ve done my Shooting for Peace Tour that I do with the high school kids by giving out scholarships. That still goes on but I’m just playing against some high school kids [laughter]. And of course my coaching at Findlay Prep and sending guys to the pros, that was one of the fun things I’ve done since I’ve been out of the league. But to be back out there in front of a crowd and getting paid to do it is quite extraordinary at my age.

We’re going to switch gears from the Big3 questions towards the NBRPA. As the NBRPA Las Vegas Chapter President, how do you help the NBRPA to fulfill its mission to assist former players in their transition into life after the game as well as impact communities and youth through basketball? There’s a lot of different ways that I contribute the Retired Players Chapter in Las Vegas. One is that I help to create programs in schools for kids and after school programs. We do charitable events including the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, feeding the homeless, delivering presents during Christmas, we do clinics for kids with autism here in Las Vegas, we tour a university, we have teamed up with Vegas Ballers Basketball Bootcamps and we do those clinics after schools every week all the way through the school year.

There’s other things for the retired players who are here and they want to stay active or they need to get reconnected with programs with the Retired Players Association. We developed a reading program to deliver scholarships, called Shooting for Peace, where kids write poems in their schools and get challenged by retired players that come out and participate in a charitable basketball game. It’s just fun to see all the legends come out and strap those shoes back on and get out there to mix it up with some high-flying high schoolers [laughter]. AND we were undefeated! Just so you know.

I see you interned at a D.C. firm while at Georgetown in 1995 and was also appointed by George W. Bush in 2004 to serve as a global youth representative. Why has it been important for you to be so involved with youth and communities within a leadership capacity? Well you know it’s been very important for me to get involved with youth just for the mere fact of my past. I didn’t have any scholarship offers coming out of high school. That really gave me the drive to want to help youth because if I had given up, I would have never become an NBA player. But I stuck to education, I kept at it and allowed it really be the champion in my life. Through that I was able to get a scholarship to Georgetown. Playing alongside future Hall of Famer and League MVP, Allen Iverson, didn’t hurt and now I’m teaming up with him again in the Big3. But that’s really why I go out there and support the youth so much because I just remember when I was young and had to make grown-up decisions about going out to get a job. That’s why I go out there and mentor kids to stick to their dreams, whatever they are, create their goals and work hard towards them because the only person standing between you and your goals is you.

Why do you think former plays should join the NBRPA? I think former players should join the NBRPA because it’s one way that you can see some of your old friends, similar to that locker room experience, there’s nothing like it. There’s no one like us on the planet. If you want to see and interact with people who understand the same things and have similar stories of perseverance and hard work, this is the only place you can do that. I don’t know of any other clubs that involve retired players the way this does. So that would be my main reason for signing up.

We’ll get you out of here with this last question. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received in your career? The best advice I’ve ever received in my career is putting God first in your life, above all else. Without my lord and savior, Jesus Christ, I wouldn’t be anything. I wouldn’t be able to do the things I’ve been able to do. My life has been an honor and blessing; still being blessed to this day with health, positive family, and a life I’ve always dreamed about. It all came through my commitment to Christ. So that would be the one piece of advice that I would give anybody. Young, old, it doesn’t matter; that would be my advice.