February 18, 2017

The first official day of NBA 2017 All Star weekend started with a warm welcome by NBRPA staff to the Legends Lounge, where in addition to credentials, NBRPA Mardi Gras beads and swag bags, Legends and their guests picked up king cakes from Rouses Markets and were treated to traditional po-boys courtesy of Mahoney’s of New Orleans. The spacious accommodations at Doubletree’s 16th floor ballroom not only provided one of the best panoramic views of New Orleans, but some incredible displays by partners:

Kristin Beal of Wintrust Wealth Management provided counseling on financial investments and wealth management, as well as offered leather-bound personal journals to make planning that much easier;

Kathryn Chu with the NBA Players Legacy Fund provided information to retired players who are experiencing financial difficulties;

Jon Harris of AthLife provided information about the incredible Sports career counseling they provide to Legends members;

Dane Jensen and Schoolyard All-Stars showed a line of jerseys pros can personalize to their former schools and donate sales proceeds back to the playgrounds where they started;

Perennial partner Rebound Magazine and Chapter leader Matt Fish had an incredible interactive display with Isodiol sports performance products and a unique SchooldPro financial literacy program available from the Phoenix NBRPA chapter;

Gooch Gallery moved along with the All-Stars from Charlotte, NC to NOLA and showcased original sports artwork and custom all-star painting;

Annual Civil Rights Tour partner Plessy & Ferguson Foundation provided information on the efforts to build inclusive museums and monuments in the NOLA area;

Alabama State University recruited players for its online degree programs;

Ear Q offered free ear screenings and assessments, and provided health counseling;

NASA showcased its post-game career opportunities;

Sportspsychology discussed transition to life after the game;

Reel Media Group provided a boot-camp training experience for those wanting to improve their on-air presentations and explore media careers.

While much of this was still going on, hundreds of volunteers, NBRPA Members, and current NBA stars braved cold, rainy weather for the NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service.  In the historic Hollygrove neighborhood of New Orleans, over 150 volunteers joined up with NBRPA Legend Dikembe Mutombo and local non-profit Rebuilding Together to paint, beautify, and renovate three houses and build a community garden. Across the Mississippi River in Gretna, nearly 100 volunteers worked with NBRPA Member Kenny Gattison to build a Kaboom playground at local William Hart Elementary Charter.

After a full-day of networking, Legends met NBRPA Board members at the opening reception hosted by Harrah’s Casino, where they were officially welcomed to the city by Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Councilwoman Susan Guidry, New Orleans Convention and Visitor Bureau Chief Steve Perry, local radio personalities and other dignitaries who thanked the NBRPA for investing in the city. Out-going Chair Thurl Bailey honored all Legends for making his years of service so meaningful on the Board. “NBRPA is at a terrific place—we’ve doubled our membership and are at nearly 900 members. With the new CBA the future is only going to get brighter for our organization. We are an integral part to the NBA family,” he said. Then Vice Chair Dwight Davis honored Thurl with a service award.

One highlight of the evening was the announcement of the NBRPA’s Legends Empowerment Program with Minor League Baseball that will include internships and mentoring programs with Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau presented a $10,000 check as seed funding to kick-start the Legend Empowerment Project.

The stage then welcomed remarks by so many contributors; Kristen Beal and Brian Brown from Wintrust; NBPA Director of Player Programs Purvis Short, Hall of Famers Nancy Lieberman, Spencer Haywood, Rick Barry, and Julius Erving; and NBRPA founders Archie Clark, Dave Cowens, Oscar Robertson, and Peter DeBusschere sitting in for his late father Dave. National Urban League President and former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial underscored the achievement of these great men and women of sports by thanking them for being leaders in integration and equity for all Americans.

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. Arnie D. Fielkow is the President and CEO, and the NBRPA Board of Directors includes Chairman of the Board Thurl Bailey, Vice Chairman Dwight Davis, Treasurer Eldridge Recasner, Secretary Nancy Lieberman, Rick Barry, James Donaldson, Mike Glenn, Spencer Haywood, LaRue Martin Jr., David Naves, Johnny Newman and Casey Shaw.