Jerome Williams played in the NBA for nine seasons including with the Detroit Pistons, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, and the New York Knicks. Nicknamed the Junk Yard Dog (or JYD) in his early days as a Detroit Piston, he exemplified hard work and hustle on the court. After his playing days, Williams joined the NBA's "Basketball Without Borders" program, an effort to teach the game and bring resources to underdeveloped nations in Africa, Asia and elsewhere, and in 2006, Williams rejoined the Toronto Raptors as their community representative.
Dave Cowens earned a berth in the Basketball Hall of Fame because of his tenacity and work ethic as a mainstay of the Boston Celtics in the 1970s, leading the team to NBA Championships in 1974 and 1976. Playing in the era of Julius "Dr. J" Erving, Wilt "the Stilt" Chamberlain, and "Pistol Pete" Maravich, Cowens didn't possess the flash and glitz of those high-profile superstars. Instead, it was Cowens' consistency, work ethic, unselfishness, versatility and energy that established him as one of the most solid and respected centers in recent NBA history.
Of his 11 years in the league, all but one was spent with the Boston Celtics. An unlikely hero in a sport dominated by men of greater size and natural ability, the red-haired lefthander relied on hustle and heart to achieve NBA greatness. His determination helped to resurrect a Celtics dynasty presumed dead after the departure of legend Bill Russell. Cowens ultimately joined his venerated predecessor in the Hall of Fame, a feat he never dreamed of achieving.
Thought a native of Newport, Ky., Cowens left the Bluegrass State and headed south to Florida State after averaging 13 points and 20 rebounds per game as a senior at Newport Catholic High School. Cowens continued to rebound as a Seminole, pulling down 1,340 boards during his three varsity seasons in Tallahassee. He also scored 19.0 points per game and shot .519 from the floor.
Celtics General Manager Red Auerbach realized that he needed someone to at least attempt to fill the shoes of Bill Russell, whose retirement after the 1968-69 championship season left the Celtics a team that could only muster 34 wins the following year, despite the presence of the great John Havlicek. He liked Cowens' hard-working attitude and work ethic, so Boston made Cowens the fourth overall pick in the 1970 NBA Draft.
Cowens averaged 17.0 points and 15.4 rebounds as a rookie, the most ever by a first-year Celtics player besides Bill Russell. Cowens' achievements earned him a share of the NBA Rookie of the Year honors, with Geoff Petrie of the Portland Trail Blazers. The Celtics improved to 44-38, and Cowens quickly won accolades for his hustle, mobility, tenacity and unselfish approach to the game.
Cowens improved to 18.8 points per game on .484 field goal shooting in his second NBA season as the Celtics adjusted to life without Russell. In his first of seven All-Star Game appearances, Cowens scored 14 points and pulled down a game-high 20 rebounds.
In the 1972-73 campaign, Boston honed its fast break while Cowens perfected his rebounding skills, averaging 16.2 boards. Playing in every game and logging 41.8 minutes per night, Cowens posted a career-high average of 20.5 points. In just his third season, Cowens joined legends Bob Cousy and Bill Russell as the only Celtics to win the league's Most Valuable Player Award.
"Celtics Pride" returned to full bloom in 1973-74, a year in which Cowens averaged 19.0 points, 15.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists, leading Boston to a 56-26 record and the NBA Championship. The word "dynasty" was once again used to describe the Celtics as the team's winning ways continued through the mid-1970s, including a second league crown for Cowens-led Boston in 1976.
During his NBA career, Cowens averaged 17.6 points and 13.6 rebounds per game, was selected to seven All-Star Games, was named to the All-NBA Second Team three times, and was named to the All-NBA Defensive First Team in 1976 and All-NBA Defensive Second Team in 1973 and 1980.
Cowen had a successful coaching career after his playing days, though he actually began his coaching career as player/coach for the Boston Celtics during the 1978-79 season. Cowens coached the Bay State Bombardiers of the Continental Basketball Association in 1984-85. From 1994-1996 he served as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs and finally became head coach of the Charlotte Hornets from 1996-1999 and Golden State Warriors from 1999-2001. In 2005 Cowens crossed over to the WNBA and coached the Chicago Sky for the beginning of the 2006 season, before joining the Detroit Pistons as an assistant.
Cowen’s was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991 and is a Founder of the NBRPA.
Shawn Dwayne Marion (born May 7, 1978) is an American retired professional basketball player who played 16 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). In a career that spanned five teams, Marion earned NBA All-Star honors four times and won an NBA championship in 2011. Nicknamed "The Matrix" by TNT analyst Kenny Smith during the pre-season of his rookie year, he was widely regarded as one of the most versatile players in the league because of his athleticism and ability to play and defend many positions. He was also known for his unorthodox shooting form.
Marion was born in Waukegan, Illinois and played high school basketball in Clarksville, Tennessee at Clarksville High School, where he was a teammate of future NBA player Trenton Hassell.
After high school, he played collegiate basketball at Vincennes University, a junior college in Indiana, for two years before transferring to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1998. In his second year with Vincennes, Marion played 36 games and averaged 23.5 points and 13.1 rebounds. He was also the 1998 NJCAA Male Student Athlete of the Year.
Shawn Marion played for the Phoenix Suns from 1999 to 2008.
Marion was selected by the Suns in the first round and ninth overall in the 1999 NBA draft. Showing explosive scoring potential and double-digit rebounding ability by his sophomore season, he was selected to the Western Conference All-Star team for the first time in 2002–03 season. In 2004 he was selected to the US Olympic men's basketball team.
In 2005, Marion was named a reserve on the Western Conference All-Star Team and selected to the 2004–05 All-NBA Third Team. That year he became the first player since David Robinson in 1991–92 to average in the top five in rebounding and steals since the league began tracking steals in 1973, a feat he repeated in 2005–06. During the 2005 All-Star Weekend, Marion teamed up with WNBA Rookie of the Year Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury, and Suns legend Dan Majerle in the RadioShack Shooting Stars to run away with the title. Marion was also selected as a Western Conference reserve on the 2006 All-Star team, and the 2007 All-Star team.
The 2005–06 NBA season was perhaps the best season of his career. He was the only player in the NBA ranked in the top 20 in points, rebounds, steals, blocks, field goal percentage and minutes. He finished the season leading the Suns in points per game (21.8), rebounds per game (11.8), blocks per game (1.7), and steals per game (2.0). Marion also ranked 3rd in efficiency. He helped fill in the void left by star Amar'e Stoudemire, who missed nearly the entire season due to injury. Marion also earned a spot in the NBA All-Star Game for the third time.
During the 2006–07 season, only Marion and superstar Kevin Garnett ranked in the top 40 in points per game, rebounds per game, field goal percentage, blocks per game, steals per game, and minutes per game. He was named to his fourth NBA All-Star Team and collected 18 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals in 22 minutes in his hometown of Las Vegas at the 2007 contest.
Following a summer filled with rumors and trade speculation involving possible deals with the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, and Utah Jazz, Marion requested a move. Citing the rumors and a refusal on the part of Phoenix management to negotiate a contract extension, Marion called his relationship with the Suns a "bad marriage", and stated in September 2007 it was time for him to leave Phoenix. By the start of the season, though, Marion continued to play well for the Suns.
On February 6, 2008, the Phoenix Suns traded Shawn Marion and teammate Marcus Banks to the Miami Heat for center Shaquille O'Neal. His last basket with the Heat was a game-winning dunk against the Chicago Bulls.
On February 13, 2009, Marion was traded to the Toronto Raptors along with Marcus Banks and cash considerations for Jermaine O'Neal, Jamario Moon and a future conditional draft pick.
On July 9, 2009, Marion signed a five-year $39 million contract and was immediately traded to the Dallas Mavericks as part of a four-team swap among Raptors, Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies and Orlando Magic. He won the first championship of his career in the 2010–11 season when the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat 4–2 in the 2011 NBA Finals.
On April 13, 2011, Marion became the fifth man to compile 1,500 steals and 1,000 blocks in the NBA. He joined Hakeem Olajuwon, Karl Malone, Kevin Garnett and Julius Erving in the exclusive club.
In the 66 game 2011–12 season, Marion led Dallas in rebounding with 7.4 rebounds per game. Marion was the only player in the NBA 6-foot-7 or shorter to lead his team in rebounding in 2011–12. He also led Dallas in double-doubles with 12. Marion scored 29 points against his former team, the Phoenix Suns, on January 23, 2012, which tied his highest-scoring game as a Maverick. Marion moved into 100th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list on March 3.
Marion appeared in his 1,000th career regular-season game against the Suns on December 27, 2012. In January 2013, Marion was fined $25,000 by the NBA for publicly criticizing officiating. After an overtime loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, he said, "It's hard to beat anybody when you're playing five on eight." Marion passed Rod Strickland for 25th place on the NBA's all-time steals list on March 6, 2013. Marion led the Mavericks in rebounds again with 525 (7.8 per game).
On January 3, 2014, he passed the 17,000-point mark and joined Olajuwon, Malone and Garnett as the only players with at least 17,000 points, 9,000 rebounds, 1,500 steals and 1,000 blocks.
On September 9, 2014, Marion signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers. On December 26, 2014, he recorded his 10,000th career rebound in a 98-89 win over the Orlando Magic. In January 2015, Marion announced his intention to retire at the end of the 2014–15 season.
After missing 13 straight games with a strained left hip, Marion returned to action on March 16 against the Miami Heat. In eight minutes off the bench, he recorded five points and one rebound in the 92-106 loss.
On June 18, 2015, following the Cavaliers' NBA Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors, Marion announced his retirement from the NBA after 16 seasons.
National Team Competition
Marion played for the senior United States national team in the 2002 FIBA World Championship and the 2004 Athens Olympics. He was named to the 2006 USA men's senior national team but he was forced to withdraw before the tournament began due to a knee injury. The squad finished third in the 2006 FIBA World Championship without him.
WNBA Hall of Famer, Olympian and Champion Speaker and Philanthropist
Sheryl Denise Swoopes, born March 25, 1971, was the first player to be signed in the WNBA when it was created in 1996. Swoopes won three Olympic Gold Medals and is a three-time WNBA MVP and was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016. Frequently referred to as the “female Michael Jordan,” Swoopes was
famous for both her offensive and defensive skills. Voted by fans as one of the Top 15 players in WNBA history, Swoopes was a trailblazer in the WNBA making way for the next generation of female basketball athletes.Swoopes was the first player in WNBA history to record a playoff triple-double and with all her accolades and skill set this led to Swoopes being the first women’s basketball player to have a Nike shoe named after her: the “Air Swoopes”. Swoopes is now working on her non-profit, Back to Our Roots, hosting basketball clinics and speaking across the world as a motivational speaker and mentor.
Thurl Lee Bailey (born April 7, 1961) is an American retired professional basketball player whose NBA career spanned from 1983 to 1999 with the Utah Jazz and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Bailey has been a broadcast analyst for the Utah Jazz and the University of Utah— in addition to work as an inspirational speaker, singer, songwriter, and film actor.
Bailey attended North Carolina State University and was a leader in the Wolfpack's miracle run to the 1983 NCAA Championship. That year, under head coach Jim Valvano, he led the Wolfpack in both scoring and rebounding. The Utah Jazz selected him as the 7th pick of the 1983 NBA draft. Jazz management reported that he was selected for the quality of his character, as well as the quality of his game. This was the beginning of 16 years of his playing professional basketball, 12 of those years were with the NBA.
Bailey was a starter with the Jazz for most of his first two seasons, but with the drafting of Karl Malone, Jazz coach Frank Layden made Bailey one of the first options off the bench. As a result, Bailey had his two finest NBA seasons in 1987-88 (19.6 ppg, played in all 82 games and started 10 times) and 1988-89 (19.5 ppg, 82 games, 3 starts).
On November 25, 1991, he was traded by the Jazz along with a 1992 second-round draft pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Tyrone Corbin. Bailey holds the unusual distinction of playing 84 combined regular-season games during the 1991-92 season for both teams. He played for almost three seasons in Minnesota until 1994 when he left the NBA and played in the Greek League (playing for Panionios) for the 1994–95 season. From 1995 to 1998 he played in the Italian League for Polti Cantù in 1995–97 and Stefanel Milano in 1997–98, before returning to the Jazz as a free agent on January 21, 1999. He retired after the end of 1998–99 season.
Butler, an NBA Champion (2011) and two-time NBA All-Star (2007, 2008), recorded a career spanning 14 seasons, including stints with the Miami Heat (2002-04), Los Angeles Lakers (2004-05), Washington Wizards (2005-10), Dallas Mavericks (2010-11), Los Angeles Clippers (2011-13), Milwaukee Bucks (2013-14), Oklahoma City Thunder (2014), Detroit Pistons (2014-15) and Sacramento Kings (2015-16). Since retiring from the league, Butler has made regular appearances on NBA-TV, ESPN and Fox Sports. In addition to television broadcasting, he has continued to grow his personal brand, Tuff Juice, through a series of podcast and content offerings.
Hill, a seven-time NBA All-Star, played 18 seasons in the NBA where he averaged just over 16 points per game. Hill was a member of the All-NBA First or Second team five times and was also on the All-Rookie First team during the 1994-1995 season. Hill spent six seasons in Detroit before moving on to Orlando for six seasons and Phoenix for five more. Hill concluded his career playing one season for the Los Angeles Clippers.
There are few people who have been as heavily involved in the NBA as Johnny Davis. Coach Davis spent nearly four decades with the NBA as a player, front office executive, assistant and head coach.
A Detroit native, Davis attended high school at Murray-Wright and was coached by the Legendary George “Baby” Duncan and Paul Dean. He quickly earned a reputation as one of the finest guards in the Detroit area, earning All-City, All-State and All-American honors and was voted as one of the top 10 players of all time in the Detroit Public School League. Davis was recruited by more than 350 major basketball schools across the country.
After high school, Davis attended the University of Dayton in Ohio where he led the Flyers in scoring for three consecutive seasons and was selected as a member of the Pan American Games and Intercontinental Cup teams, both of which won Gold Medals. Davis was inducted into the University of Dayton’s Hall of Fame in 1993.
After his junior year of college, Davis was drafted in the second round (22nd) of the 1976 NBA draft by the Portland Trailblazers where he played for Hall of Fame Coach, Jack Ramsey. He played 10 seasons in the NBA and was a key member of the 1977 Championship team. His career also included stints in Indiana, Atlanta and Cleveland. Davis concluded his playing career with 9,710 points scored, 3,368 assists and 683 steals.
Following his retirement as a player, Davis accepted a front office executive position with the Atlanta Hawks as Director of Community Affairs. Davis quickly moved up the ranks and was promoted to Assistant to the President and eventually President of the Atlanta Hawks Foundation. During his appointment, Davis spearheaded a philanthropic initiative that raised $500,000 in support of Atlanta area homeless shelters.
After a three year stint with the Hawks, Davis returned to the court as a coach. He began his coaching career as an Assistant for the Atlanta Hawks and has since worked for the Los Angeles Clippers, Portland Trailblazers, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, Orlando Magic, Minnesota Timber Wolves, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Toronto Raptors and the Los Angeles Lakers. To date, Davis has worked for over one third (11) of the 30 NBA teams.
Coach Davis has assisted many of the NBA’s most reputable and successful head coaches including Bob Weiss, John Calipari, Glenn “Doc” Rivers, Dwane Casey and Mike D’Antoni, and he has coached and mentored many noteworthy players. The expansive list includes many All-Star and Hall of Fame players including Dominique Wilkins, Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, Tracy McGrady, Grant Hill, Kobe Bryant and many more.
David Naves joined the NBRPA Board of Directors in 2016.
Ever since he was a kid growing up on the Southside of Chicago, Naves had a passion for basketball, science, and technology. He attended Lindblom Technical High School, one of two S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) high schools in Chicago. While there, Naves joined the basketball team and began his stellar basketball career. His senior year he earned Chicago All-City and Illinois Honorable Mention All-State honors and was heavily recruited by some of the top universities in the country. Naves chose to remain close to home and played collegiate basketball at Northern Illinois University.
Naves had free agent tryouts with the American Basketball Association’s Indiana Pacers and Dallas Chaparrals after his collegiate basketball career at NIU came to a close. As a kid, Naves saw the Harlem Globetrotter movie 'Go Man Go' featuring "Sweetwater" Clifton, "Goose" Tatum and Marques Haynes and was in awe of what they could do with a basketball. Never in his wildest imagination could he believe that he would get the opportunity to try out for the Harlem Globetrotters. Of the 47 hopefuls, Naves and four others were signed. His notable teammates were Harlem Globetrotter legends Meadowlark Lemon, Curley Neal, Hubert “Geese” Ausbie, Bobby “Showboat” Hall, and Jackie Jackson. Naves played over 130 games with the Globetrotters from 1971-1972, performing around the world in Canada, Australia/Tasmania, New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii and New Caledonia. During his tenure with the Harlem Globetrotters, he helped establish the Globetrotter Players Union, which allowed for collective bargaining and the establishment of basic player rights, salaries, benefits and living standards.
Naves returned back to NIU in 1972 to receive his bachelor’s degree and soon thereafter began his professional career in engineering. For over the last 40 years, Naves has held engineering, management, and executive positions within the rail-car, automotive, and aerospace industries. He was also president and founder of EG&L Systems a multimedia computer based training company. He is currently employed with Alcyon Technical Services where he is the Manager - Mission Systems Engineering on a $200M contract supporting the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland to plan, design, develop, test, and operate their space science missions. During his career Naves has received several patents as well as other numerous awards. Integrity has always been his guiding principle whose actions are based on the highest standards of conduct coupled with sound decision making. Naves has always been committed to providing an environment that attracts and retains talented people through: challenging work and rewards and recognition for outstanding performance. Combining these principles have allowed Naves to have a very successful career.
“As a new board member, I think my engineering and management background allows me to provide the necessary critical thinking, collaboration, and decision making needed to conceptualize the direction of the NBRPA,” said Naves.
Away from his job, Naves is very passionate about giving back to the community. He has coached and given youth basketball clinics and is actively involved with his church. Though kids marvel at his basketball skills, Naves really enjoys speaking to them about being successful off the court and encourages them to stay committed in their school studies and to have the drive to go after career goals.
From 2013 to 2015, Naves served on the Membership and Benefits Committee for the NBRPA. He thoroughly enjoyed bringing his industry experience and perspective to the committee and now he brings those same traits and leadership to the NBRPA Board of Directors.
“The future of the NBRPA is unbelievable,” he said. “I see an NBRPA where cities compete to host a Legends World Sports Conference that is attended by thousands; I see the NBA as an even more connected partner; I see the NBRPA as an organization every retired HGT, NBA, WNBA, and ABA player will want to be a part of; I see an NBRPA that has expanded programs that foster a successful transition to life after basketball, and I see an NBRPA that that has initiatives to help both our local and international communities.”
Naves also hopes being the only Globetrotter on the board will bring about even more participation and involvement from the Harlem Globetrotters alumni.
“I would like to increase retired Harlem Globetrotter membership and foster their active participation within the organization,” said Naves. “I also hope we can explore working with cooperate sponsors to build or refurbish basketball courts in areas of need in the United States as well as Africa.”
Just like in his professional and business career, Naves is sure to bring a focus and commitment on meeting the needs to not only NBRPA members but to the communities the organization serves as well.
Naves resides in Bowie, Maryland with his wife Jacqueline and they have three adult children: Erica Naves Sillmon, Lindsay, and David Gregory II.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Perkins attended Samuel J. Tilden High School. He later attended and graduated from Shaker High School in Latham, New York. He was named large-school player of the year (high school) by the New York State Sportswriters Association in 1980 and was also named to the 35 Greatest Boys McDonald's All Americans team.
Perkins attended college at the University of North Carolina and played basketball for the North Carolina Tar Heels from 1980 to 1984. He was named ACC Rookie of the Year in 1981 and starred alongside future NBA Hall of Famers James Worthy and Michael Jordan on the Tar Heels' 1982 NCAA championship team. A three-time All-American, Perkins was the 1984 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year. Perkins finished his collegiate basketball career as the Tar Heels' all-time leader in rebounds and blocked shots and as the second-highest scorer in team history. He graduated from UNC in 1984.
Perkins was a co-captain of the gold-medal-winning 1984 U.S. men's Olympic basketball team.
Chosen by the Dallas Mavericks as the fourth overall pick in the 1984 NBA draft, Perkins went on to play as a power forward and center in the NBA from 1984 to 2001. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 1985. Perkins played for the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Seattle SuperSonics, and the Indiana Pacers, respectively. He scored a career-high 45 points on April 12, 1990. Perkins tied an NBA record on January 15, 1997 by making eight three-pointers without a miss. He appeared in three NBA Finals: The 1991 NBA Finals (with the Lakers), the 1996 NBA Finals (with the SuperSonics), and the 2000 NBA Finals (with the Pacers). In Game One of the 1991 NBA Finals, Perkins made a game-winning three-point shot to defeat the Chicago Bulls. He was known by the nicknames "Sleepy Sam", "Big Smooth", and "The Big Easy".
Since his retirement in 2001, Perkins has been actively involved in a variety of charitable endeavors, including Special Olympics, Nothing But Nets in conjunction with the United Nations, Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers, Carolina for Kibera, NBA Cares, Basketball Without Borders and Habitat for Humanity.
In 2002, Perkins was named to the ACC 50th Anniversary men's basketball team as one of the fifty greatest players in Atlantic Coast Conference history.
In 2008, Perkins was named vice president of player relations for the Indiana Pacers. That September, he was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame.
In October 2011, Perkins traveled to South Sudan as a SportsUnited Sports Envoy for the U.S. Department of State, where he worked with Hall of Fame NBA center Dikembe Mutombo to lead a series of basketball clinics and team building exercises with youths, the South Sudanese Wheelchair Basketball Team, and 36 coaches.
Perkins was named to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018.