Spencer Haywood Rumors
Spencer Haywood, formerly the NBRPA chairman, acknowledged that it’s hard to know how many former players have been affected. “I don’t know if we’re getting accurate reporting,” said Haywood, another Hall of Famer. “Because people who have it might not know, and others who know might not want to talk about it. “Right now, it’s in Florida. It’s Houston very strongly and that’s one of our largest communities of past players. I’ve been calling people, telling ‘em certain things to do and take some precautions. We have a list – I don’t go through the whole list, but I just talk to some of the guys who I know.” Living in Las Vegas, Haywood – the subject of a book, “The Spencer Haywood Rule” to be released in October – works the phone randomly to keep NBRPA members feeling connected. For example, he spoke Tuesday with Hall of Famer Earl Monroe, who has had some health challenges, and reported that Monroe was “hanging in there.”
It might not look like much now, but St. Cecilia’s is famous for having been compared to legendary Rucker Park of New York because of all the big names who came through. Isiah. Magic. Gervin. Also, David Bing. That’s four of the greatest players in NBA history. Joe Dumars, Rick Mahorn and Dennis Rodman of “Bad Boys” Pistons fame. B.J. Armstrong. Chris Webber. Jalen Rose. Derrick Coleman. Steve Smith. Shane Battier. Jimmy Walker and Spencer Haywood and Ralph Simpson and Campy Russell. Dick Vitale (awesome with a capital “A,” baby). Dozens of others.
Spencer Haywood, who just termed out after two straight three-year stints as the NBRPA’s chairman of the board, can’t stop thinking about his fellow members, former teammates, and friends who were suffering even before the globe was blanketed by coronavirus. “I love them,” Haywood says. “Everybody just calls, ‘Hey can you help me with $300. I need $400, $500. I need this to make my rent. I need this to get food … We don’t have a revenue stream. All of our guys have to work. They’re doing basketball camps. They’re traveling. They do groups. That’s how they make money … We’re at the very beginning [of this pandemic], so I know our family, the NBA retired family, we’re gonna have some drama. I’m hoping that it’s not me. But who knows?”
“For a long time, we had been pushing for health insurance for our retired players. Before, once a player left the game, their health insurance was taken away,” NBRPA Chairman of the Board Spencer Haywood explained. “A lot of our guys were having to work [in retirement] to make ends meet and keep their health insurance. Then, I spoke to LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and the rest of the National Basketball Players Association’s Executive Board and they said, ‘Hey, we can help you guys out. We’ll get you some health insurance.’ I thought [the coverage] would be something simple. But instead, they’re dropping over $15 million per year to get us the same health insurance they have. I was just like, ‘Wow.’”
In the midst of Haywood’s legendary NBA and ABA career, he played in 34 games for the New Orleans Jazz during the 1978-79 season. The Jazz acquired him from the New York Knicks midway through the year for Joe Meriweather. He averaged 24.0 points and 9.6 rebounds on 49.7 percent shooting, but the squad finished 26-56. “That was awesome,” Haywood recalled. “It was just great because I was with one of my heroes Elgin Baylor who was the coach and playing with “Pistol Pete” Maravich and Gail Goodrich was one of my dreams. That was some pretty cool stuff.”
“Donovan and I partied hard until late in the night at the ESPYs,” Haywood said. “We got a chance to talk and party and dance until well in the night. He’s just a wonderful young man and you know all of them are under the Spencer Haywood Rule because any player that left college before their four years are up, comes through me,” he continued, tapping his chest. “I take pride in that. A lot of pride.”