Elton Brand//Photo by Luigi Ciuffetelli
Elton Brand, the new general manager of the Delaware 87ers, is hoping to use his 16 years of experience as an NBA player to help the Sevens and their young players reach their potential. When he’s not working, you may find Brand taking yoga classes at the beach or biking around Wilmington.
What experiences as a player can you apply to your new role?
The main thing I want to implore in the guys is that playing for the G-League is not a demotion. It’s a development. It’s to get you to that next stage to see if you have what it takes. You’re on an NBA roster and, some guys, they don’t get to play a lot of minutes. But here you can play and learn and actually be on the court instead of sitting on the bench, where you’re not growing at all.
How did your transition to management go?
There is a sense of fulfillment when you see a young player that you’re helping to develop make it to the big leagues. That sense of fulfillment really drives me. As far as the business, I’m more the head of the basketball operations, but the business side is important to me. There are definitely huge, huge, amazing things that we intend to do in the community of Delaware.
Have a great team, first of all. Just having a great product for the fans. A lot of fans have been trying to get me to get a player named Trevor Cooney from Syracuse. He’s a Delaware product. I’ve been getting emails and talking, but that has to happen organically.
How do you relate to the players?
I’ve been an All-Star. I’ve been injured. I’ve been from the end of the bench to starting. I’ve seen it all.
What excites you most about the Sevens?
The development. We’ll have some of the Sixers players down there—you know, Furkan [Korkmaz]. He’s a young, talented player. Just seeing the talent that we’re going to have and the competitive strength of these guys.
What are you looking to improve upon?
We didn’t make the playoffs last year, so I definitely want to bring the playoffs. It’s one game in the first two rounds, so it’s more like the NCAA or the wild card for baseball. And just representing Delaware.
Where do you live?
I’m living in Pennsylvania. It’s about an hour from Newark. My wife really likes the beach, and Delaware has some great beachfront properties, we’re hearing, so she’s looking for something on the coast.
Do people recognize you in public?
Yeah. It’s mostly Sixers fans. When I’m in New York City or other places, because I played with five or six teams. But it’s that fan base for Philadelphia teams. It’s really strong in Delaware.
What excites you about being in Delaware?
Opportunity. Opportunity to help grow a team, help grow a business. The relationships like at the Beau Biden Foundation event, just networking with a whole new group of people, just businesses and meeting new people.
What do you like to do in Delaware?
I like yoga. I like to ride a bicycle. I did a 75-mile ride—trying to hit the 100 mark next year. There’s great trails and beautiful scenic routes that I’ve been seeing and can’t wait to ride on. I went to the Wilmington Country Club for an event, and I just saw people riding, and it was a beautiful autumn day. It looked like a great ride.