Q&A with NBRPA Board Member and longtime NBA standout Johnny Newman

June 20, 2014

By Jenna Logan

Johnny Newman was elected to the NBRPA’s Board of Directors in December of 2011. Newman starred at the University of Richmond, before going on to play for 16 seasons in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, Charlotte Hornets, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets, and Dallas Mavericks.

Q: How has your experience been serving on the Board of Directors for the NBRPA?  Can you share any highlights or favorite memories?

A: I am excited about being on the board. I’ve been on the Players Association for so many years and enjoy working with the players during their time on the court and with their time off of the court. All-Star weekend is always a fun time to see some different faces.

Q: What other charities or organizations do you work with and promote?

A: I have my own foundation that I work with called the Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation. I’m also big with the power operation in the Police Athletic League working with the youth in Virginia.

Q: Being a scholar and advocate for academic achievement, what advice would you give to kids and student athletes about the importance of their schoolwork?

A: I would advise them to work as hard as they can in school and to get their schoolwork done. Something I learned very early is that they can take the basketball away but they can’t take away who you are and what you know. I continue to use my education everyday -- it’s important.

Q: Sixteen seasons is a long time to have played for the NBA, what is the key to having a long athletic career?

A: The key for me is to take care of your body, your mind and your job. I’ve always been able to do that; I’ve never put anything in my body that wasn’t supposed to go there or that would be detrimental to me or to my career. I worked year round on my body, and when your body is in good shape, your mind will be in good shape as well. You always have the opportunity to go out and have fun, but you still need to know “it’s time to come in and time to work.”

Q: After playing for teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets, do you have a favorite team or location?

A: I enjoyed my time in New York and Charlotte. The other four or five cities were good but there’s nothing like playing in New York, and we had some really good teams in Charlotte.

Q: What about a favorite teammate from your career or favorite memory?

A: I always enjoyed playing with Larry Johnson and Charles Oakley. Charles and I are still really close and touch base and take care of one another all the time. I was one of those guys that got along with most of my teammates so I have a lot of good relationships outside of basketball.

Q: You have lived in Richmond for a long time now. Where did you go to college and where do you live today? How do you feel about the town and why have you remained there for so long?

A: Well, I am originally from Danville, Virginia, which is about two hours from Richmond. After going to school at the University of Richmond, I stayed there because I was moving around in different cities and wanted to be in a central location. There were also a lot of connections. They call me the Unofficial Mayor of Richmond because I do a lot in the community and know tons of people in every area. It took a lot of years of hard work, being respectful and being a man of your word, so I have stayed. I don’t like it because it is not a big sports city and my passion is sports and coaching, but you can be somewhere like Richmond and leave your wallet at home and still do what you want to do; that’s a good feeling.

Q: Anything specific you are looking forward to in the future with the NBRPA or your other affiliates?

A: Oh yeah! I want to be the president one day. Hopefully I can bring in some new ideas and new feelings -- that is my goal and what I would like to be. Obviously, I am going to serve as much as I can, so I am sticking around for a while.