SPENCER HAYWOOD, RUSHIA BROWN, EDDIE GILL AND BOB ELLIOTT ELECTED TO SERVE AS DIRECTORS
Indianapolis, IND. Feb 16, 2024 – The National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) announced today the election of its newest board members, including the naming of Directors Spencer Haywood, Rushia Brown, Eddie Gill and Bob Elliott. Additionally, Nancy Lieberman, and C.J. Kupek were named to the following Officer positions – Treasurer and Secretary, respectively.
“We are thrilled to welcome Spencer Haywood, Rushia Brown, Eddie Gill and Bob Elliott as the newest additions to the NBRPA’s Board of Directors,” said Scott Rochelle, President & CEO, NBRPA. “These latest additions, along with the return of Spencer and Bob to our board are a testament to our commitment to best represent all viewpoints from across our organization and provide the utmost professionalism and leadership for our membership.” Added Rochelle “I would also like to welcome Nancy Lieberman and C.J. Kupec in joining Charles “Choo” Smith (Chairman of the Board) and Shawn Marion (Vice Chairman) as NBRPA Officers and extend the NBRPA’s full gratitude to outgoing board members Grant Hill, Jerome Williams, Johnny Davis and Sam Perkins for their selfless dedication during their tenures on our board.”
NBRPA Directors are responsible for executing the NBRPA mission to serve former professional basketball players, supporting them in life after their playing days, and assisting them in leveraging their inspirational influence and to promote and teach basketball in their communities.
Spencer Haywood - is an Olympic gold medalist and a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, being inducted in 2015. Haywood attended Trinidad State Junior College in Trinidad, Colorado, during the 1967–68 college season, where he averaged 28.2 points and 22.1 rebounds per game. Due to his exceptional performance and talent, Haywood made the 1968 U.S. Olympic team at age 19, becoming the youngest American basketball player in Olympic history. Haywood was the leading scorer on the gold medal winning team at 16.1 points per game, and he set a Team USA field goal percentage record of .719. Haywood transferred to the University of Detroit in the fall of that year and led the NCAA in rebounding with a 21.5 average per game while scoring 32.1 points per game during the 1968–69 season.
Haywood decided to turn pro after his sophomore year, but National Basketball Association (NBA) rules, which then required a player to wait until four years after his high school class graduated, prohibited him from entering the league. The American Basketball Association (ABA) had a similar rule, but league executive Mike Storen came up with the idea for a hardship exemption. With his mother raising 10 children while picking cotton at $2 per day in Mississippi, Haywood met the criteria. He joined the Denver Rockets after they selected him in the ABA draft.
In his 1969–70 rookie season, Haywood led the ABA in both scoring at 30.0 points per game and rebounding at 19.5 rebounds per game, while leading the Rockets to the ABA's Western Division Title. In the playoffs, Denver defeated the Washington Caps in 7 games in the Western Division Semifinals before falling to the Los Angeles Stars in the division finals, 4 games to 1. He was named both the ABA Rookie of the Year and ABA MVP during the season and became the youngest ever recipient of the MVP at the age of 21. His 986 field goals made, 1,637 rebounds, and 19.5 rebound per game average are the all-time ABA records for a season. Haywood also won the ABA's 1970 All-Star Game MVP that year after recording 23 points, 19 rebounds, and 7 blocked shots for the West team.
In 1970, despite the NBA's eligibility rules, Haywood joined the Seattle SuperSonics, and with SuperSonics owner Sam Schulman launched an antitrust suit against the league (Haywood v. National Basketball Association). The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court before the NBA agreed to a settlement. The suit and its impact on college basketball and the NBA was the focus of a 2020 book The Spencer Haywood Rule: Battles, Basketball, and the Making of an American Iconoclast by Marc J. Spears and Gary Washburn.
Haywood was named to the All-NBA First Team in 1972 and 1973 and the All-NBA Second Team in 1974 and 1975. Haywood's 29.2 points per game in the 1972–73 season and 13.4 rebounds per game in 1973–74 are the single-season record averages for the SuperSonics for these categories. Haywood played in four NBA All-Star Games while with Seattle, including a strong 23-point, 11-rebound performance in 1974. In the 1974–75 season, he helped lead the SuperSonics to their first playoff berth. Overall, during his five seasons with Seattle, Haywood averaged 24.9 points per game and 12.1 rebounds per game.
In 1975, the SuperSonics traded him to the New York Knicks where he later teamed with Bob McAdoo. Haywood later played for the New Orleans Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers, and Washington Bullets.
Rushia Brown - Rushia Brown was born in the Bronx, NY and raised in South Carolina and 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. With 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. 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.
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.
Eddie Gill - played college basketball at the College of Eastern Utah, Salt Lake Community College, and Weber State University. With the Weber State Wildcats, Gill was MVP of the 1999 Big Sky Conference tournament.
Not selected in the 2000 NBA draft, Gill began his professional career with the Las Vegas Silver Bandits of the IBL and debuted with the New Jersey Nets of the NBA late in the 2000–01 season. Gill has had a journeyman career in basketball and has played in various teams in the NBA, NBA Development League, minor leagues, and overseas. In the NBA, Gill has played for the New Jersey Nets, Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers, Indiana Pacers, Seattle SuperSonics, and Milwaukee Bucks all usually in reserve roles. However, Gill has been a starter and high scorer for much of his non-NBA career. Professionally, Gill has been an All-Star selection in the CBA (2004) and NBA Development League (2008) and won championships with the D-League (2009 with the Colorado 14ers) and Belgian Cup (2010 with BC Oostende).
Gill also won a regional Emmy award for his work as an analyst on Pacers Live Pregame.
Bob Elliot – was a three-time academic and athletic All-American at the University of Arizona, leading his team to a Western Athletic Conference championship and two NCAA tournament appearances. He was a 1977 Third Team All American, a 1975, 1976 and 1977. Third Team All-WAC conference honoree, and a 1975, 1976, and 1977 Academic All American. Elliott received a Bachelor of Science in accounting, and later, an MBA from the University of Arizona as well.
He is also a past chairman of the NBRPA. Elliott was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA, but never played for them. He spent half a year playing basketball in Europe and three seasons with the New Jersey Nets. Following his NBA career, Elliott briefly played for the Detroit Spirits of the Continental Basketball Association during the 1982–83 season.
Elliott currently resides in Tucson, Arizona. He and his wife Beverely have four adult children and ten grandchildren. Elliott also owns a successful accounting practice, Elliott Accounting Group, in Tucson that has been active for over 30 years.
C.J. Kupec – a former power forward/center in the National Basketball Association for the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets, Kupec was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 4th round of the 1975 NBA Draft and was also selected by the Spirits of St. Louis in the fifth round of the 1975 ABA Draft.
After playing in the NBA, Kupec was a member of Olimpia Billy Milano, BredaBAU Bellinzona, Squibb Cantù (won Euroleague/Cup of Champions 1982), SAV Bergamo, Viola Reggio Calabria, Mister Day Siena and Spondilatte Cremona teams in Europe. He played college basketball and football at the University of Michigan, where he won Big 10 championships in both sports. Kupec attended Oak Lawn Community High School, where he played center at six-foot-eight, played football and earned High School All-America honors.
Nancy Lieberman - nicknamed "Lady Magic", Lieberman is an American former professional basketball player and coach in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) who is currently a broadcaster for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association (NBA) as well as the head coach of Power, a team in the BIG3 which she led to its 2018 Championship. Lieberman is regarded as one of the greatest figures in American women's basketball.
In 2000, she was inducted into the Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame. Lieberman is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame the St. Louis Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, and the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.
In July 2015, she was hired by the Sacramento Kings as an assistant coach, becoming the second female assistant coach in NBA history. She took two leaves of absence to care for her ailing mother before leaving the Kings in 2017. After the Kings, she became a broadcaster with the New Orleans Pelicans.
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, and WNBA. 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 Charles “Choo” Smith, Vice Chairman Shawn Marion, Treasurer Nancy Lieberman, Secretary C.J. Kupec, Spencer Haywood, Eddie Gill, Rushia Brown, Bob Elliott, Mike Bantom, Caron Butler, Clarence “Chucky” Brown and Dave Bing. Learn more at legendsofbasketball.com.
To follow along with the NBRPA, find them on social media at @NBAalumni on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Twitch.
Julio Manteiga, NBRPA – firstname.lastname@example.org, (516) 749-9894