Category: Press Releases

Ann Meyers Drysdale | Phoenix Mercury and Suns;

Joe Caldwell | Former ASU Basketball Star;

Paul Westphal | Former Phoenix Suns Star & Coach

CHICAGO, IL (September, 11, 2020) — On Tuesday, September 8, Paul Westphal (Naismith Basketball HOF’19, former Phoenix Suns star and coach), Ann Meyers Drysdale (HOF’13 Inductee, Phoenix Mercury and Suns executive), and Joe Caldwell (former Arizona State University basketball star) were elected to the 2020 Arizona Sports Hall of Fame class.  The Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission (ASEC) announced the 2020 class, featuring three basketball standouts, among the seven total inductees.

Nikki Balich-Cammarata, who serves as the ASEC Executive Director issued the following statement in the official 2020 Arizona Sports Hall of Fame press release:

“Arizona has a rich sports tradition, and this Arizona Sports Hall of Fame class exemplifies that tradition perfectly…Each of these individuals has played an important role in shaping our state’s sports history.”

Westphal, Meyers Drysdale, and Caldwell, whose contributions are highlighted below, join the following AZ Sports Hall of Fame Members:

Dick Van Arsdale (1981); Alvan Adams (1988); Jerry Colangelo (2002); Sean Elliott (2010); Fat Lever (2013); Charles Barkley (2015); Dan Majerle (2017); Tom Chambers (2019).

Paul Westphal: “The No. 8 scorer in Phoenix Suns history, Westphal played a key role on the franchise’s two NBA Finals teams. He was a star guard on the underdog team that reached the 1976 NBA Finals and then coached the Suns to the 1993 NBA Finals. With his dazzling moves and elite skills, “Westy” won the hearts of the first generation of Suns fans, and his No. 44 was retired by the team in 1989. After the Suns fell behind the Los Angeles Lakers two games to none in a best-of-five series in the 1993 playoffs, Westphal famously guaranteed that his team would rally to win the series – which it did, extending a run that ended in Game 6 of the Finals. Westphal also led Grand Canyon University to the 1988 NAIA national title. Westphal is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.” - ASEC

Ann Meyers Drysdale: “A basketball pioneer, Ann Meyers Drysdale came to Phoenix as the General Manager of the Phoenix Mercury and Vice President of the Phoenix Suns. Meyers Drysdale played a role in all three of the Mercury’s WNBA titles. Meyers Drysdale now serves the Mercury and Suns as a Vice President and broadcaster. Meyers Drysdale made history when she became the first woman to receive a Division I athletics scholarship, from UCLA. She became a four-time All-American and led the Bruins to their only women’s national title in 1978. Meyers Drysdale was the first draft pick of the Women’s Professional Basketball League, the nation’s first women’s pro league and a forerunner to the WNBA and earned co-MVP in 1979-80. She later became the first woman to sign an NBA contract, trying out for the Indiana Pacers in 1980.” - ASEC

Jumpin’ Joe Caldwell: “Caldwell, nicknamed “Jumpin’ Joe,” set the career scoring record at ASU with 1,515 points (18.2 per game) and is the school’s No. 2 all-time rebounder with 929 (11.2 per game). Caldwell led the Sun Devils to the NCAA tournament in his three varsity seasons – 1962-64. Caldwell was team captain all three years and MVP in 1963 and 1964, and the school retired his No. 32 in 2010. He won a gold medal with the 1964 U.S. men’s basketball team in Tokyo. Caldwell spent six seasons in the NBA and five in the ABA, earning All-Star honors twice in each league.” - ASEC

Every year, the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame honors athletes, coaches, administrators, and others who have made significant contributions to Arizona sports.  The 2020 class was selected by a vote of trustees and the public.  An honorary ceremony will take place on April 23, 2021, during the Crest Insurance Group Arizona Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

A qualifying candidate can: (1) be from Arizona, or (2) must have lived in Arizona and is recognized as an Arizonan.  Additionally, they must have left a tangible mark on the Arizona athletics community, generating two or more significant contributions to sport.

For more information on the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, or to purchase tickets to the induction ceremony, please visit www.azsportshof.com.

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Media Contact:

NBRPA Member Alert • 312-913-9400 • memberalert@legendsofbasketball.com

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. Legends Care is the charitable initiative of the NBRPA that positively impacts youth and communities through basketball. Scott Rochelle is President and CEO, and the NBRPA Board of Directors includes Chairman of the Board Johnny Davis, Vice Chairman Jerome Williams, Treasurer Sam Perkins, Secretary Grant Hill, Thurl Bailey, Caron Butler, Dave Cowens, Shawn Marion, David Naves and Sheryl Swoopes. Learn more at legendsofbasketball.com.

About the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame: The Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission owns the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, which was founded in 1957 by the Phoenix Press Box Association. The Hall of Fame honors athletes, coaches, administrators and others who have made significant contributions to Arizona sports. To be eligible for the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, an individual must meet one of three criteria: a native of Arizona; immediately recognized as an Arizonan; have made at least two significant contributions to the athletics community in Arizona. For more information on the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, or to purchase tickets to the induction ceremony, please visit www.azsportshof.com.

About the Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission: The Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission (ASEC) is a non-profit organization created in 1988. The Commission collaborates with hundreds of partners to help fulfill the mission of bringing national and international sporting events to the state; assisting in the promotion of existing events and Arizona sports teams; providing volunteer recruitment and organization for large-scale sporting events; and developing youth sports programs. In 2009, it assumed oversight of the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2012, the Grand Canyon State Games. ASEC was the founding organization and owner of the 2015 NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. For more information about the Commission call 480.517.9700 or visit www.azsportsent.com.

New Expanded Multimedia Platform to Showcase the Stories, Successes, Lessons and Personalities of NBA and WNBA Legends

Chicago, ILL. (August 25, 2020) – The National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) today announced the expansion and launch of Legends Media & Entertainment (LME), a multifaceted storytelling platform that will produce, distribute and quantify the wide reaching stories of many of the NBA and WNBA’s biggest stars. The content will span the history of both leagues and feature more recent alums of the game ranging from Sheryl Swoopes and Grant Hill to the sport’s greatest legends and business successes on and off the court, delivered through all forms of media, from print and spoken word to long and short form video.

The NBRPA represents over 1,000 former NBA and WNBA players, making it the largest agency of its kind in basketball. This has allowed for direct access to players for opportunities domestically and internationally.

“With the creation of LME, we are building a multimedia platform for some of the most compelling men and women connected to basketball’s history and culture under one umbrella, something which has been asked for, and needed for some time,” said NBRPA President and CEO Scott Rochelle. “LME will be a vibrant stop for fans, businesses and others who want to enjoy, learn and explore the amazing stories of our Legends both on and off the court. These stories are some of the best in the global business of sport, and now we can house them under one impactful roof.”

NBA Champion and NBRPA Director Caron Butler adds, “Every NBA and WNBA player has a story to tell and Legends Media & Entertainment offers ALL Legends a platform to tell their stories and let their voices be heard.”

Some of the key unified elements of LME will include:

Legends Magazine which debuted in 2018 and is the official publication for NBA and WNBA Legends. Produced quarterly, Legends Magazine has featured cover stories about NBRPA Director Caron Butler, Jerry Stackhouse, Elton Brand, Jamal Mashburn and “The Knuckleheads” – Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles. Each issue is delivered to all former players, active players, coaches, stakeholders, influencers and league officials worldwide.

Legends Studios also debuted in 2018 with the launch of original live-action and animated short videos and two podcasts, the All-Access Legends Podcast and On Deck with Scott Rochelle. In April 2020, Legends Live, a weekly web series broadcasted to multiple social media platforms featuring live conversations with NBA and WNBA Legends, was added to the Legends Studios portfolio. In addition to 32 standard episodes, Legends Live also covered the 2020 WNBA Draft and ESPN’s The Last Dance with live commentary from Legends. Last week, media personality Tyler Johnson, aka Trill Withers, joined the LME team as host of Legends Live, where he will spend time with many of the game’s most successful and dynamic personalities and business people. Johnson will also be a key contributor to Legends Magazine, the All-Access Legends Podcast and the NBRPA’s social media strategy and content.

To follow along with LME content from the NBRPA, find them on social media at @NBAalumni on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Twitch or on Facebook at NBA Alumni.

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Media Contact:

Joe Favorito • 917-566-8345 • joefavorito2@gmail.com

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. Legends Care is the charitable initiative of the NBRPA that positively impacts youth and communities through basketball. Scott Rochelle is President and CEO, and the NBRPA Board of Directors includes Chairman of the Board Johnny Davis, Vice Chairman Jerome Williams, Treasurer Sam Perkins, Secretary Grant Hill, Thurl Bailey, Caron Butler, Dave Cowens, Shawn Marion, David Naves and Sheryl Swoopes. Learn more at legendsofbasketball.com.

New Platform to Drive Brand Partnership Opportunities for Legends

Chicago (August 14, 2020) – The National Basketball Retired Players Association today announced their official partnership with SwayBrand, a platform that helps brands connect with influencers. The new relationship will bring such brand deal opportunities directly to NBRPA Legends through an easy-to-use mobile app.

SwayBrand specializes in creating and bringing authentic partnerships to life that span a wide range of price points. Legends will be paired with companies that share a strong alignment to their voice and values, and in turn will execute uniquely tailored creative content. The process makes it easy for Legends to earn income from appearances and continue building their own booking opportunities with similar brands.

“There is so much talent within the NBRPA, and we are constantly receiving requests for these Legends to share their voice,” says NBRPA President & CEO Scott Rochelle. “This new partnership with SwayBrand will streamline this process, giving Legends the chance to manage and grow their own opportunities all in one user-friendly platform.”

SwayBrand, a black-owned business, first launched in 2018 and has quickly made strides in the brand marketing space. In January 2020, SwayBrand won the NFL Players Association Pitch Day competition in the Athlete-Led Startup category, winning cash prizes and the right to player-marketing opportunities, as well as Amazon Web Services. The new deal with the NBRPA will be SwayBrand’s first exclusive relationship.

“At SwayBrand, we offer diverse and authentic deals across a range of investment classes, ensuring brands and talent are effectively matched to maximize returns for all parties involved,” says Co-Founder Horace Flournoy. “We are thrilled to be working with the NBRPA to bring partnership opportunities to each and every Legend.”

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Media Contacts:

Scott Rochelle, srochelle@legendsofbasketball.com, (312) 913-9400

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. Legends Care is the charitable initiative of the NBRPA that positively impacts youth and communities through basketball. Scott Rochelle is President and CEO, and the NBRPA Board of Directors includes Chairman of the Board Johnny Davis, Vice Chairman Jerome Williams, Treasurer Sam Perkins, Secretary Grant Hill, Thurl Bailey, Caron Butler, Dave Cowens, Shawn Marion, David Naves and Sheryl Swoopes. Learn more at legendsofbasketball.com.

About SwayBrand:

SwayBrand is an all new, exclusive marketplace that connects brands, small to enterprise, with multicultural talent for video content, insights and specialized bookings.  The SwayBrand marketplace will feature "Authentikas", or diverse selections of athletes, artists, celebrities and other social media ambassadors that exclusively partner with brands that they actually use or discover and love.  The all new app and brand experience will launch late June.

WNBA Legends Inspire Girls Inc. Teenagers Across the Country

Chicago (August 11, 2020) – The National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) is proud to announce Legends Girl Chat, a new, virtual Legends Care program consisting of one-hour video conversations between high school girls and WNBA Legends.

“The Legends Care initiative is such a vital part of the NBRPA that we were not going to allow the COVID-19 pandemic to halt our programming completely,” said NBRPA President and CEO Scott Rochelle. “The NBRPA team expertly pivoted by creating this virtual program that safely brings WNBA Legends and their inspiration and wisdom right into the homes of girls all across the country.”

Partnering with the NBRPA on Legends Girl Chat is Girls Inc. Girls Inc. provides comprehensive, research-based programs and activities for girls at sites across the United States. The mission of Girls Inc. is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold through direct service and advocacy.

"We are thrilled to partner with the NBRPA and WNBA Legends to bring the Legends Girl Chat initiative to Girls Inc. girls. Through this unique opportunity, girls are connecting with remarkable female role models and building on the experiences they are getting at Girls Inc., including learning about the importance of teamwork, using the skills they develop through sports participation to become leaders in their communities, and speaking out against injustice," said Dr. Stephanie J. Hull, Girls Inc. President & CEO.

Through this Legends Care partnership, all 78 affiliates of Girls Inc. are able to schedule a Legends Girl Chat to incorporate into their summer or afterschool programming.

“We are honored to be working with Girls Inc. and their affiliates as the Legends Girl Chat community partner,” said NBRPA Sr. Director of Social Impact and Events Bridget Gannon. “An organization with such a legacy of empowering girls was a natural fit for a Legends Care program that connects strong, smart and bold WNBA Legends to girls who they can inspire and motivate during these uncertain times and beyond.”

WNBA Legends who have already participated in Legends Girl Chat include WNBA Champions and All-Stars, Hall of Famers, Olympic Gold Medalists and NCAA Champions. 

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee and NBRPA Director Sheryl Swoopes adds, “For so many of us W Legends, we see ourselves in these girls and we jump at the opportunity to speak with them and impact their lives in a positive way whether the conversation is about basketball or life in general.”

A Legends Girl Chat promotional video can be found here.

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Media Contacts:

Michelle Fikany, mfikany@legendsofbasketball.com, (312) 913-9400

Veronica Vela, vvela@girlsinc.org, (914) 830-1179

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. Legends Care is the charitable initiative of the NBRPA that positively impacts youth and communities through basketball. Scott Rochelle is President and CEO, and the NBRPA Board of Directors includes Chairman of the Board Johnny Davis, Vice Chairman Jerome Williams, Treasurer Sam Perkins, Secretary Grant Hill, Thurl Bailey, Caron Butler, Dave Cowens, Shawn Marion, David Naves and Sheryl Swoopes. Learn more at legendsofbasketball.com.

About Girls Inc.:

Girls Inc. inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. Their comprehensive approach to whole girl development equips girls to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers and grow up healthy, educated, and independent. These positive outcomes are achieved through three core elements: people - trained staff and volunteers who build lasting, mentoring  relationships; environment - girl-only, physically and emotionally safe, where there is a sisterhood of support, high expectations, and mutual respect; and programming - research-based, hands-on and minds-on, age-appropriate, meeting the needs of today’s girls. Informed by girls and their families, Girls Inc. also advocate for legislation and policies to increase opportunities for all girls. Join Girls Inc. at girlsinc.org.