Spencer Haywood Rumors
Around 80 players visited the new office in midtown Manhattan, which covers 47,000 square feet over two floors. It’s the only location in Manhattan that resembles an NBA training center. The rookies got a tour of the gym, locker room, soon-to-be-completed basketball court and hydroworks area (hot/cold tub and underwater treadmill). They also checked out the players’ lounge (with pool and ping-pong) and multiple business rooms (technologically-equipped) where they can conduct meetings to advance their careers on and off the court. In addition, they met with and heard from NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts, NBPA President Chris Paul, other staff members in breakout sessions, and former NBA legends Isiah Thomas and Spencer Haywood. Here’s our behind-the-scenes video feature on the NBPA’s Rookie Transition Program, while highlighting our new office for players.
Yesterday, KJR’s Dave “Softy” Mahler had a pair of Sonics legends on his radio show and they each had interesting comments about the future of the NBA in Seattle. In hour one, Softy spoke to Spencer Haywood about his upcoming documentary “Full Court.” Spencer had some interesting comments that came from a place not of speculation, but straight from the mouth of the NBA Commissioner. According to Spencer, Adam Silver told him… “Will you help the people in Seattle understand that we want to make amends? We want a team back in Seattle immediately.”
Softy seemed a bit taken aback by this strong message from the league, but Spencer doubled down. “[Adam Silver] wants a team back in Seattle desperately. They want to do right by Seattle, what has happened. They want to make it right.”
Me: Did you ever speak with the guys who decided not to play in ’68 and supported Harry Edwards’ boycott, like Kareem and Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes? Spencer Haywood: I talked to them, but they don’t see it like that. They don’t even like to even discuss it. Kareem says, well, even back then, he said, ‘I was just going to help some kids up in Harlem. I didn’t really boycott.’ And I take him at his word. I said ‘Okay, big dog.’ But I know it’s a boycott. So history, you know, history has its way of weaving through. And I also thanked them, too. Because if they had came to the ’68 Olympics, they would never have looked at a freshman to try out and be a member of the Olympic team. As Elvis would say, thank you, thank you very much.
Me: We’ve talked about this many times over the years, and the word I would use, I guess, is frustrated. You seemed frustrated that more modern players didn’t know or appreciate the impact of what you’d done. Do you think these younger guys in the league now get it? Spencer Haywood: Yes. Because of the leadership of LeBron, I think. And the NBA, they don’t like to talk about what they did, but I’ll tell it. They did a nice doc, six-minute doc. And they had Kobe, Kevin Durant and LeBron James on that doc. And they talk about the importance of what I’d done. And that was the first time that the players ever mentioned my name. And it was about, what I was talking about in that doc was that the mothers of these players — Shaq’s mother gave me an award, LeBron’s mother came up and gave me a big old hug. And she said, ‘My boy and I, we was running from house to house.’
SH: We knew, because of Sonny Vaccaro, he’d told him and Kobe and all those guys, if you can get through high school and survive all of this stuff, Spencer Haywood paved the way for y’all to go and make a living, earn a living for your family. And they knew that. That’s been my new group. And Kevin Garnett has been awesome. And you know who has been more awesome than anybody? Charles Barkley.