Q&A with NBRPA Atlanta Chapter President Dale Ellis

By: Paige Tonz

NBRPA member Dale Ellis is Atlanta Chapter President. Ellis was the ninth overall choice for the Dallas Mavericks in the 1983 NBA Draft. He played for various NBA teams during his career after being a two-time SEC Player of the Year at the University of Tennessee. During Ellis’ breakout season with the Seattle SuperSonics, he scored 2,253 points, breaking the franchise record of 2,251. In his overall career, Ellis played in 1,209 NBA games, averaged 15.7 points per game, 3.5 rebounds per game, and held a .403 three-point field goal percentage. 

Q: What was/is your inspiration that motivated you to be a successful NBA player? 

My inspiration that motivates me is the passion and love I have for the game. I’d do anything for athletics and the love for the game pushed me to be better.

Q: What is your most significant memory during your career in the NBA? 

Competing for a championship with the Dallas Mavericks was the most significant part of my career, along with just being given the opportunity to play ball.

Q: What do you think makes a great leader on the court, as well as being the President of the Atlanta chapter? 

What makes a good leader is to lead by example on and off the court. A leader is being vocal and doing what is correct at all times. If you work hard at what you do, then you will achieve what you want to in your life. You have to go out of your way to be a good person and a good leader. I just try to do what is right at all times.

Q: Did you always know that you wanted to continue a career surrounding the game of basketball after your NBA career? 

Yes, I did. Basketball is my passion. It was an easy decision to continue my career with basketball. I enjoy working with the kids and encouraging youth development. I like teaching simple life skills through the game of basketball. I will always be active with basketball, because it is who I am.

Q: What kind of responsibilities do you have being President of your chapter? 

I help the retired players transition from being in the NBA into retirement. I raise money and identify the needs and concerns of the community. My responsibility is to do what sees fit for the community. The chapter often times comes together collectively to figure out what the community needs.

Q: What do you like most about being the President of the Atlanta chapter? 

The contacts I have made and the work I have done has allowed me to be back in the arena. I really love giving back. My life is about giving. Knowledge and wealth is something you share – I give whatever I can give to others.

Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of being involved with the National Basketball Retired Players Association? 

The most rewarding part of my role is seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces. I am given the opportunity to grab the attention of young people and give them insight about what they should be looking at and doing.  Teaching youth to balance academics and athletics is very rewarding to me.










NBRPA mourns the loss of Lou Hudson

The NBRPA offers its condolences to the family of former NBA great Lou Hudson.

Originally drafted in the first round (fourth overall) of the 1966 NBA Draft by the St. Louis Hawks, Hudson averaged 20.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists (.489 FG%, .797 FT%) in his 13-year NBA career

Hudson averaged 18.4 points as a rookie in St. Louis, and was named to the All-NBA Rookie Team. After missing part of the 1967-68 season to serve his country in the United States Army, Hudson returned as the franchise relocated to Atlanta in 1968, and scored the first basket in Atlanta Hawks history on October 15, 1968. In 1970, he helped lead the Hawks to the Western Division Championship.

The 1969-70 season began a stretch of five consecutive years averaging at least 24.0 points per game. In his 11 years with the Hawks, he put up 20.0 points per game or better seven times. He shares the franchise single-game scoring record, having put up 57 points against Chicago on November 10, 1969.

He was traded by Atlanta to the Los Angeles Lakers on September 30, 1977, and played his final two seasons with Los Angeles. Hudson later relocated to Park City, Utah where he served on the City Council in the 1990’s and was active in numerous charitable endeavors. He later moved back to the Atlanta area, and regularly attended games and team alumni events. He was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 1988, the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.

One of the first three African-American basketball players to attend the University of Minnesota, Hudson played for legendary coach John Kundla. His uniform number 14 was retired by the Gophers in 1994 and he’s a member of the school’s athletic Hall of Fame.

Hudson was born in Greensboro, North Carolina on July 11, 1944 and starred in basketball, football and track at Dudley High School in his hometown. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1966 NFL Draft despite not playing college football.

Jones Brothers to be featured at SIAC Champions Brunch

NBRPA Members Caldwell, Major (Houston Chapter President) and Wilbert Jones will be featured alongside their brothers, Oliver and Charles, at the upcoming Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's inaugural SIAC Champions Brunch, in conjunction with the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation. The event, which is sponsored by the National College Athletic Association, will be held on Saturday, March 8, at 8:30 a.m. at The George T. French Center on the campus of Miles College in Fairfield, Alab.

The Jones family is widely recognized as the only family to produce six brothers who played professional basketball, including four in the NBA -- Caldwell, Charles, Major, Melvin (deceased), Oliver and Wilbert. . All six brothers attended Albany State University, a member institution of the SIAC. The Jones brothers will be on hand to speak with student-athletes, answer questions and have photo opportunities following the brunch.

SIAC Commissioner Greg Moore will bestow appropriate awards of recognition to the Jones Brothers during the event, as they will be invited to participate in other activities of the SIAC Tournament before and after the brunch.

Media are encouraged to attend as there will be a media / photo availability period with the Jones Brothers immediately following.

The brunch coincides with the 81st SIAC Basketball Tournament, which will be held from March 3 through March 8, at Bill Harris Arena in the Birmingham Crossplex. The 2014 SIAC Basketball Tournament features both men’s and women’s basketball teams from the 14 members of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (SIAC).

NBRPA Atlanta Chapter Hosts Corporate Mixer

The National Basketball Retired Players Association - Atlanta Chapter hosted a corporate mixer in Atlanta, GA, January 15th 2014. The primary goal was to build stronger relationships within the Atlanta community, providing efficient ways to benefit philanthropic activities. The mixer was also geared towards bringing together executive business leaders, young professionals, and small business companies for an evening of cocktails, Hors d'oeuvres, and networking; with the opportunity to have their brand gain an abundant amount of exposure by the National Basketball Association (NBA), corporate executives and Atlanta dignitaries. Below are pictures from the event.


NBRPA Atlanta Chapter President Dale Ellis’ jersey retired by U Tennessee

The University of Tennessee plans to honor legendary men's basketball player Dale Ellis by retiring his No. 14 jersey during a home game next season, the Tennessee athletics department announced Thursday.

Ellis - a two-time first-team All-American - will become the fourth player to be permanently honored in the Thompson-Boling Arena rafters. He joins Bernard King (No. 53), Ernie Grunfeld (No. 22) and Allan Houston (No. 20).

That trio previously had their "numbers" retired. Tennessee on Thursday announced that such honors moving forward will be recognized as retired "jerseys." The school also announced new criteria to be eligible for such a distinction. To read the revised criteria, click HERE.

A native of Marietta, Ga., Ellis suited up for the Vols and head coach Don DeVoe from 1979-83. Ellis was twice named the SEC Player of the Year (1982 and 1983), and he was a three-time first-team All-SEC selection. As a junior in 1981-82, he led Tennessee to a 20-10 (13-5 SEC) record and the regular-season SEC Championship.

He returned to UT during breaks early in his NBA career to work toward his graduation requirements, earning his degree in Sociology in 1985.

"Dale Ellis represents everything that's great about being a Tennessee Volunteer," current UT head coach Cuonzo Martin said. "He performed at a championship level while he was here. He achieved the ultimate goal, which is to graduate. And he went on to have a very successful professional career.

"One of the most impressive things about Dale's career on the basketball court is the fact that he was an All-American in college when there was no 3-point line, and then he went on to the NBA and developed into one of the greatest 3-point shooters in the history of the league.

"He is extremely deserving of this honor, and I thank him for being involved with our program, because he's a great role model for our young men."

Ellis raised his scoring average every season during his career on Rocky Top. The 6-7, 205-pound forward averaged 7.1 points as a freshman in 1979-80, and that average rose to 17.7 ppg, 21.2 ppg and finally 22.6 ppg during his senior campaign in 1982-83. His 2,065 total points ranked third in program history at the conclusion of his UT career, and he currently ranks sixth on the school's all-time scoring list.

His 724 points as a senior set a UT single-season record (has since been surpassed). However, he remains Tennessee's all-time leader in field-goal percentage for a single season (.654 in 1981-82) and a career (.595; min. 500 attempts).

Ellis' standout career in Knoxville led to several other honors and recognitions, including: two selections to the SEC Tournament All-Tournament Team (1982 and 1983); honorable mention on the Lakeland Ledger's 1986 25-Year All-SEC Team; and inclusion on the 1989 Clarion Ledger/Jackson Daily News SEC Team of the 1980s.

He also was selected as UT's "SEC Basketball Legend" for the 2004 SEC Tournament, and in 2009, he was named to Tennessee's All-Century Team.

Close to two decades worth of NBA stardom highlighted Ellis' outstanding professional basketball playing career after he left Rocky Top. He was picked by the Dallas Mavericks with the ninth overall selection in the 1983 NBA Draft, and he went on to play 19 seasons in the NBA for six different teams.

Though the 3-point line did not exist during Ellis' collegiate career, he became one of the greatest 3-point shooters in the history of the NBA - in fact, he was the first player in the history of the league to make 1,000 3-point shots. In 1997-98, he led the league with a .464 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. He also won the Long Distance Shootout during the 1989 NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston. In the actual All-Star game that year, he scored 27 points on 12-of-16 shooting.

Ellis earned third-team All-NBA honors in 1988-89 after averaging 4.2 rebounds and a career-best 27.5 points per game (third in the league, behind only Michael Jordan [32.5 ppg] and Karl Malone [29.1 ppg]).

In 1986-87, he garnered the NBA's Most Improved Player Award after averaging 24.9 ppg for the Seattle Supersonics.

During his 19 NBA seasons, he played six-plus years with Seattle and also spent time with Dallas, Milwaukee, San Antonio, Denver, Charlotte and Miami. His teams made 10 playoff appearances.

He ranks tied for eighth on the NBA's all-time list for 3-pointers made (1,719) and tied for 25th in career 3-point shooting percentage (.403).

Upon retirement, Ellis traveled the world as an ambassador of the game. For 12 years, he visited places such as Asia, Europe and South America. He spent time in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait visiting U.S. troops.

Ellis, 52-years-old and still in tremendous physical condition, now resides in his hometown of Marietta and serves as president of the Atlanta chapter of the NBRPA.