NBRPA Members represent at college conference tournaments

March 19, 2013

Before NBRPA Members – former NBA, ABA and Harlem Globetrotters players – made it in professional basketball, the vast majority starred at the college level. With that in mind, it only makes sense for NBRPA Members to showcase their careers in hospitality settings at NCAA conference postseason tournaments. Last week the NBRPA did just that, with members making public appearances at the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC Tournaments.

It all started on Wednesday, March 13, when former Big Ten standouts Kenny Battle (Illinois), Acie Earl (Iowa), Joe Ruklick (Northwestern) and Sam Vincent (Michigan State) appeared at the Big Ten Tournament Tip-Off luncheon to discuss their favorite memories from playing in the conference. The luncheon was well-attended and the panel well-received as a highlight of the event. Later in the week, Battle, Earl, Ruklick and Vincent attended a Big Ten Tournament reception to mix and mingle with fans on March 15.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my Big Ten career at Michigan State and reflecting with Kenny, Acie and Joe was a lot of fun,” said Vincent. “The NBRPA is full of former college stars and it’s always enjoyable to get together with other members to share old war stories and laugh about old times.”

As part of the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City, Hall of Famer Jo Jo White (Kansas) was joined by fellow Jayhawk Bud Stallworth (Kansas) and Micheal Williams (Baylor) at a fan fest event in front of the Sprint Center. White, Stallworth and Williams engaged in a lively panel discussion before signing autographs and posing for photos with fans.

“It was a great day in Kansas City,” said White. “I enjoyed reconnecting with my old friend, Bud Stallworth, and it was nice to get to know Micheal Williams a little bit better. Most of all, it was fun to spend time with the fans outside the Sprint Center.”

Another Hall of Famer, former North Carolina State great David Thompson, represented the NBRPA at the ACC Tournament. Thompson gave a speech to fans and sponsors before the Saturday session of the tournament on March 16. Meanwhile, Dale Ellis – who recently had his number retired at Tennessee – did the same at the SEC Tournament.

The NBRPA will continue to showcase its members in the collegiate postseason with a host of appearances at the NCAA Tournament and Final Four. Members will be making NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament appearances at games in Arlington, Texas, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Jose, Calif. and Washington, DC. These appearances by NBRPA Members will precede a host of hospitality appearances made by members at the Final Four in Atlanta April 6-8.

“Before becoming professional basketball players, most of our members starred at the college level and it’s only natural that they interact with fans and the community for these exciting postseason events,” said NBRPA President & CEO Arnie D. Fielkow. “The success of the conference tournament appearances alongside the upcoming NCAA Tournament appearances make us excited to expand our college basketball programs in coming years.”