November 2023 NBRPA Member Spotlights

NBRPA membership is comprised of a diverse group of former professional basketball players of the NBA, ABA, WNBA, and Harlem Globetrotters.

Each month, we'll spotlight one NBRPA member from each league to recognize their career on the court as well as the impact they are now having in their communities.

Rodney Rogers


Rodney Ray Rogers is an American former professional basketball player who played for several teams in the NBA.

Rogers was the fourth and youngest child born to Willie Wardsworth and Estella Rogers. Rogers attended Hillside High School in Durham. As an athlete, he was known as "the Durham Bull." He was a two-time Greensboro News & Record All-State selection, and was named the 1990 North Carolina state Player of the Year. As a junior, he averaged 22.5 points and 9.7 rebounds, and in his senior year he averaged 28.3 points and 12.3 rebounds on a team that finished 27-2 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the state 4-A playoffs. He was named McDonald's All-American and scored 17 points in the game.

From 1990 until 1993, Rogers played college basketball at Wake Forest University, where he won the 1990–1991 season Rookie of the Year honor and was the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year in 1993, averaging 21.2 points and 7.4 rebounds. His final college statistics were 19.3 points and 7.9 rebounds. Rogers's college jersey #54 was retired in February 1996 by the Demon Deacons.

Rogers was drafted with the 9th pick by the Denver Nuggets in the 1993 NBA draft and spent his rookie year coming off the bench for a team which was the first 8th-seeded team in NBA playoffs history to beat a first-seeded team, the Seattle SuperSonics. Rogers had one significant game in his rookie year, against the Utah Jazz on February 8, 1994. Near the end of the game, Rogers hit three 3-pointers in a span of nine seconds to bring the Nuggets from a 94–86 deficit to a 95–94 lead. However, Jeff Malone hit a jumper with 12 seconds remaining to give the Jazz the 96–95 win.

Right after being drafted by the Denver Nuggets, in the summer of 1993, Rogers married Tisa White. They had three children together, two girls (Roddreka and Rydeiah) and one son (Rodney Rogers II).

After Rogers was traded to the Phoenix Suns in 1999, the family made Paradise Valley, Arizona their home until 2006. Tisa returned to Durham to take over her father's family real estate business, in which Rogers was an investor. He returned to Durham in 2006 and went to work for the City of Durham as a heavy equipment operator. Rogers was promoted to supervisor in the spring of 2008. Most of his Public Works Department co-workers did not know he had been in the NBA until his dirt bike accident later that year.

Rogers is the cousin of former New England Patriots linebacker Tully Banta-Cain.

Rogers was a volunteer girls' basketball coach at Rogers-Herr Middle School, and he co-founded the Durham Eagles youth football team. He enjoyed hunting, riding motorcycles and ATVs, horseback riding and fishing. He is a NASCAR fan and loves big trucks and construction equipment.

On November 28, 2008, Rogers was involved in a dirt bike crash in rural Vance County north of Raleigh. Rogers hit a ditch while riding through a trail and flipped over his vehicle's handlebars. He was first flown to Duke University Medical Center, then on December 3 was moved by air ambulance to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia, which specializes in rehabilitating people with spinal cord and/or brain injuries. Rogers is paralyzed from the shoulders down as a result of the accident, and doctors have given him only a 5% chance of ever walking again.

Arvesta Kelly


On July 29, the Pittsburgh Pipers of the ABA announced the signing of their 11th player, or more correctly they made their 11th announcement of a player signing. Apparently, Kelly had been signed for several weeks, but legendary Pittsburgh Press sportswriter Roy McHugh let the cat out of the bag in a column the day before. He wrote that the 6-2 guard, a recent graduate of Lincoln University of Missouri, had been in town for weeks, and had already been competing in the Stanton Heights summer basketball league in Pittsburgh. He had been drafted by the St. Louis Hawks in the 8th round, 85th overall, of the NBA Draft, but chose the Pipers because, “he felt his chances were better in a new league.” He found out how rough street ball can be, especially when the opponents find out “you’re college or pro.” Arvesta said he felt like a “clay pigeon,” the standard treatment a target like that would receive in any street ball league in the country. Arvesta is still to this day, one of only two players from Lincoln to play in the NBA or the ABA.

Arvesta Kelly was drafted on May 2nd in the 8th round of the 1967 NBA Draft by the nearby St. Louis Hawks. Arvesta bypassed St. Louis and signed with the Pipers about a month after finishing his college track season which lasted until the end of May.

Arvesta held onto the No. 4 guard slot for the Pipers in 16 regular season games, played 9.1 MPG, and finished 3.9/2.1/0.8 and made three 3-pointers. His season high for points in a regular season game was 15 in a 135-118 win over Anaheim. He played in eight of the 15 playoff games which included two games in the Finals. He played 3.4 MPG and averaged 2.0 PPG. He scored seven points in the final game of the first round series win over the Indiana Pacers. 

Arvesta currently lives in Des Moines, Iowa and is involved in serving at the Community Life Church. He also serves with a local youth organization teaching basketball fundamentals and mentoring youth.

Rushia Brown


Rushia Brown was born in the Bronx, NY and raised in South Carolina. As a sophomore, she first picked up a ball and joined the Summerville High School Junior Varsity basketball team. Athletic, yet untrained, Rushia began a journey that would forever change her life. 

Through hard work and dedication, she was one of the top student-athlete recruits in the state of South Carolina as a senior; being courted by esteemed universities such as Harvard, Duke University and her then dream school, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.  However, after the loss of her father, Rushia chose to stay close to home and attend Furman University.  

As a Lady Paladin, Rushia pursued her education and competed on the court, attaining every accolade available including Southern Conference Freshman of the Year, multiple MVPs, Southern Conference Player of the Year, Edna Hartness Athlete of the Year and eventually having her jersey hang from the rafters as #34 was retired, never to be worn again. Rushia’s collegiate years lead to a 10 year professional career overseas, which spanned 5 countries; Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Korea and 7 years in the WNBA; 6 years in Cleveland and 1 year in Charlotte. 

When transitioning from the world of professional sports, Rushia decided that she would only pursue the passions that fed her spirit. She earned her Executive MBA from George Washington University to support her efforts. 

Her entrepreneurial spirit led her to be a part of starting several companies, including the Women’s Professional Basketball Alumnae, the only organization to assist women who have played professionally in the WNBA or Internationally as they transition into mainstream society; ServCom, a nonprofit organization that strives to improve its communities by providing educational and enrichment activities for its citizens; Hearts & Hands Catering, a family business offering health food alternatives; and Young Black Entrepreneur Magazine, a quarterly publication that serves as an educational platform encouraging minorities to start their own businesses.

Brown has made her mark in various sectors of business and continues to travel the world inspiring others to use their gifts and talents to pursue their dreams. Rushia spent 5 years as a WNBA executive. Her 1st experience was working in the NBA/WNBA front office in New York as a member of the Crossover Program. 

In 2018 Brown helped relocate the San Antonio Silver Stars to Las Vegas, where she served  as the Player Programs & Franchise Development Manager for the Las Vegas Aces for 2 years. Brown then served as the Director of Community Relations and Youth Sports for the Los Angeles Sparks for 2 years. She also serves as a catalyst for change for those looking to take their lives and professions to the next level.

Rushia has recently been appointed to position on the advisory board for the WBL, where she's doing groundbreaking work to help revamp the Cleaveland Rockers organization, a team that she played on for 6 WNBA seasons.

Amongst her many accomplishments, what she is currently doing as the latest team member for Edyoucore, may be her most impactful as she travels the country promoting financial literacy amongst high school, college, and professional athletes.

Rushia is the proud mother of one daughter, Morgan MacKenzie Brown, and a proud member of the National Basketball Retired Players Association. 

Respected tremendously amongst her peers within the NBRPA for past contributions to the Association, decades long dedication to women in, during, and after sports; in 2023 Rushia was voted onto the NBRPA's Board of Directors, where she now serves and represents membership with passion, and compassion at heart.

Dave Naves

Harlem Globetrotters

Dave Naves was born and raised on the south side of Chicago. He had always been enthusiastic about basketball, science, and technology. Making a living doing any of these would be a dream come true. That being his vision, he attended Lindblom Technical HS (a STEM school). His parents as well as teachers and coaches at Lindblom Tech were phenomenal and provided him with the guidance that would shape his future education and business endeavors. As a prep, Naves lettered twice on the hardwood for head coach Edward Bjankini at Chicago Lindblom. He led the team in scoring, plus made Chicago Public League All-Central Blue Division and Honorable Mention All-State in 1966-67. Mr. Naves was heavily recruited by some of the top colleges and universities in the country including the University of Iowa (Big 10), Vanderbilt University (SEC) and the University of Kansas (Big 8) and chose to stay close to home and play basketball at Division 1 Northern Illinois University.

A three-year Northern Illinois letter-winner (1967-71) for NIU Hall of Fame coach, Tom Jorgensen, Naves produced 577 points and 324 rebounds in 52 career appearances. Naves went 6-foot-6 and 183 pounds with a deft perimeter shooting touch for a big man. As a sophomore, he averaged 16.3 points per game and 9.7 rebounds.

In 1971, Naves had free agent tryouts with the American Basketball Association Indiana Pacers. The camp included George McGinnis, Darnel Hillman, and Randy Smith. Naves was also invited to try out for the Harlem Globetrotters. Of the 47 hopefuls, Naves was one of five that made the team. During the 1971-72 season Mr. Naves played for both the National and International Units. His National Unit teammates included Harlem Globetrotter legends Meadowlark Lemmon, Curly Neal, Bobby Joe Mason, Pablo Robertson, and Bobby Hunter. The International Unit teammates included Geese Ausby, Mel Davis, and Bobby “Showboat” Hall. The International Unit performed in Canada, Australia/Tasmania, New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii, and New Caledonia. Following the 1971-1972 tour, Mr. Naves was invited to the Dallas Chaparrals tryouts. After being cut, Mr. Naves opted not to return to Globetrotters and began a 47-year career in engineering.

Throughout his 47-year career, Mr. Naves has held engineering, management, or executive positions with Ford Motor Company/Body Engineering, CSX Rail, Jackson and Tull, Swales Aerospace, and SGT, Inc. Mr. Naves holds 4 patents for railcar designs. He was also the CEO and founder of EG&L Systems, Inc.

 Mr. Naves is currently the Manager-Mission Systems Engineering, for Alutiiq/Alcyon Technical Services (ATS). ATS has a $200M contract to provide systems engineering (mission, spacecraft, science instrument, ground systems, and project management) services to support the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. The GSFC focuses on space science that includes heliophysics, planetary science, earth science, and astrophysics programs and projects. In his 37 years providing engineering services at the GSFC, he has supported the Hubble Space Telescope mission; Landsat satellite missions in conjunction with the US Geological Survey; NOAA GOES weather satellite missions to predict changes in the earth’s climate, oceans, and coast as well as the affects of the Sun’s release of charged particles, Space Weather, has on the earth; the GSFC Tracking and Data Relay Satellite constellation’s  spacecraft and ground communication system engineering; and most recently, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/GSFC Mars Sample Return (MSR) Mission-Capture, Containment, and Return System (CCRS) which is a mission to bring soil samples from Mars back to earth.

Mr. Naves has been an active member of the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) since 2011. He takes very seriously the mission of the NBRPA which is to assist former NBA, ABA, Harlem Globetrotters, and WNBA players in their transition from the playing court into life after the game. Mr. Naves served on the NBRPA Board of Directors for 6 years (2016-2021) representing the Harlem Globetrotters. According to Mr. Naves, “It was an honor and privilege to have served on the Board. I had the opportunity to work with other NBA, ABA, and WNBA Board members to make this organization the best it could be and be responsive to the needs of our members.” During his time on the Board, there was significant membership growth, expansion of programs to help members transition from playing to life after basketball, better transparency between the executive team and the members, increases in revenue, and better coordination with NBRPA Chapter’s. For two straight years, Mr. Naves received an invite from the Harlem Globetrotter Executive Management team to speak to players, during training camp, about planning for life after basketball.

Enthusiastic about giving back to the community, Mr. Naves has coached and given youth basketball clinics and is actively involved with his church. Mr. Naves has a fervent desire to encourage our youth to be the best they can be. He believes that with vision, passion, purpose, guidance, and planning, our youth can be successful in all their endeavors; be it academic, sports, business, or relationships. He really enjoys speaking to young people about careers in science, engineering, and technology. Mr. Naves obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Industry-Technology NIU. Mr. Naves is married and has 3 adult children and 2 grandchildren. He resides in Bowie, Maryland.