His pro-ball days may be behind him, but Elton Brand is utilizing many of the same skills he perfected on the court to guide the next generation of basketball players.
Brand is the general manager for the Delaware Blue Coats, the minor league team for the Philadelphia 76ers. The team recently changed its name from the 87ers to the Blue Coats in homage to Delaware’s vital role in the Revolutionary War.
Brand enjoyed a storied 17-year career on the court. He played for the Chicago Bulls, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Philadelphia 76ers, the Dallas Mavericks and the Atlanta Hawks. Brand played for the 76ers for four years, beginning in 2008 and, following retirement, again in 2016.
He scored 33 points during a matchup with the New York Knicks in February 2011, leading the team to a 100-98 win and, for Brand, a personal record while playing for the Philadelphia team.
Following his second pro-ball retirement in 2016, the Philadelphia team asked him back to work behind the scenes in player development. He left that post last summer to join the Blue Coats.
As general manager, Brand wears many hats. “It’s a full gamut from deciding who gets a parking pass to choosing the talent that the 76ers will draft, and choosing when the players will work out with the 76ers,” he said.
Brand employs both on-the-court and off-the-court skills to communicate sportsmanship, adaptability and perseverance to Blue Coats team members.
“I talk to them about preparation, because you never know,” he said. “You may not play five games in a row, but then may be called up.”
Brand recalled one of his earlier proud moments. “It had to be being drafted. It was the culmination of years of hard work, and truly a dream,” he said.
“No one’s ever made it to pro sports where I was from,” Brand added, referring to the housing project where he grew up.
Brand will celebrate another benchmark later this year: In September, Duke University, his alma mater, will induct him into the university’s athletic hall of fame.