Strong Bonds Fuel NBRPA Houston Chapter

June 17, 2013

By Shantonie Derrick

The NBRPA has nine chapter cities, with additional chapters on the horizon. Houston is the oldest, largest and most successful of these chapters. After a successful series of community events held during NBA All-Star 2013 in its home city, the NBRPA Houston Chapter is riding a crest of momentum that’s been created by a core group of members working as one.

From their humble beginnings, the Houston Chapter has had a vision and passion to not only provide assistance to other retired players as they transition into life after the game, but to serve others and give back to the community. John Egan was elected the first President of the Houston Chapter nearly 20 years ago, but his hard-work and dedication to the organization is the foundation on which the chapter currently operates. Once, Egan decided his time as president was up, Jones took over in 2008 and has served with the same level of tenacity as Egan.

With hundreds of NBRPA Members in the area, Jones attributes their great success to his “core group of guys,” which consists of about 20-30 former players that consistently attend meetings and events.

“I think that we have a committed group and that works well for us,” Jones said. “We know who we are, we know the direction that we want to go in and the guys have definitely committed.

Egan said there’s a special bond amongst members of the Houston Chapter.

“Veteran guys, legend guys, getting together and bonding with each other has been the greatest asset – we’ve become friends,” Egan said.

With leadership that cares about bonding and creating an impact in the community, the Houston chapter is very busy year-round. Outside of the customary basketball clinics and charity golf outings, they have partnered with Project WET to bring about water education to local schools. The mission of Project WET is to reach children, parents, educators and communities of the world with water education.

During All-Star Weekend, the chapter held two basketball clinics, a golf tournament, an event with Project WET and a gala where an excess of 1500 people-former players and guests-attended. Jones said they use their Stay in School Program as a platform to go to different schools and speak to the kid’s right before summer break.

The Houston Chapter has been working diligently to increase their business acumen and attain sponsorships and partnerships with the local business community. Shell and Sports Authority are just two companies they are working with in their area.

Egan’s advice for all chapters old and new is simple:

“Start small and think small,” Egan said. “You have to get guys that want to give back, share, and aren’t greedy – guys that are passionate about helping other people. Have meetings and don’t hold them long, have the guys solicit other guys, do one event at a time, and get some supporters and sponsors to help you. Corporations see what you’re doing and they give money on emotional things like kids, education, feeding the homeless/hungry, cancer, etc. The competition is unbelievable, so you have to start small and grow through word of mouth; people will say it’s a great organization and begin to support.”

Jones echoed Egan’s comments:

“You have to get committed guys, a committed core group of guys who are going to be there regardless. You don’t come to the meetings only when it’s convenient or don’t have anything else to do. You have to have committed guys and we have a committed core group of guys. Once you can get that done you’re in pretty good shape. We work with the premise that we have a chip on our shoulder. I think that has served us well. It’s the Houston chapter not my chapter it’s our chapter. I try to do what’s best for our chapter.”