In a recent interview with the Legends of Basketball, Ellis, being the President of the Atlanta chapter of NBRPA, said that today, his life is about helping others.
“I’d do anything for athletics and the love for the game pushed me to be better,” Ellis said. “My inspiration that motivates me is the passion and love I have for the game. ”
Although mostly remembered for his days with the Seattle Supersonics, Ellis himself said that his most significant memory of his NBA career was competing for a championship with the Dallas Mavericks, along with just being given the opportunity to play basketball.
Ellis was the ninth overall choice for the Dallas Mavericks in the 1983 NBA Draft.
Speaking of his current work, Ellis said what makes a good leader is to lead by example on and off the court.
“A leader is being vocal and doing what is correct at all times. If you work hard at what you do, then you will achieve what you want to in your life. You have to go out of your way to be a good person and a good leader. I just try to do what is right at all times,” he said.
Ellis said basketball is still his passion, and it was easy for him to continue his career on the same path.
“I enjoy working with the kids and encouraging youth development. I like teaching simple life skills through the game of basketball. I will always be active with basketball, because it is who I am,” he said.
When asked about his duties as the president of the NBRPA’s Atlanta chapter, Ellis said he helps other retired NBA players to transit from being active in the NBA, into retirement.
“I raise money and identify the needs and concerns of the community. My responsibility is to do what sees fit for the community. The chapter often times comes together collectively to figure out what the community needs,” he said.
Former All-Star noted that the contacts he has made and the work he has done, allowed him to be “back in the arena”.
“I really love giving back. My life is about giving. Knowledge and wealth is something you share – I give whatever I can give to others,” he said.
“The most rewarding part of my role is seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces. I am given the opportunity to grab the attention of young people and give them insight about what they should be looking at and doing. Teaching youth to balance academics and athletics is very rewarding to me,” Ellis said.
“I’m the best shooter of all time. I know that from the jump. I set the standard. I gave them something to shoot for. I was the first player in the history of the game to get 1,000 3-pointers. To be able to play on that level, you have to have that attitude about yourself. You can say it’s arrogant or cocky or whatever, but that’s OK. There’s no way you can compete without it. There’s no way you can excel without that confidence level,” he said.
In 1997-98, he led the league with a .464 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. He also won the Long Distance Shootout during the 1989 NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston. In the actual All-Star game that year, he scored 27 points on 12-of-16 shooting.
Ellis earned third-team All-NBA honors in 1988-89 after averaging 4.2 rebounds and a career-best 27.5 points per game (third in the league, behind only Michael Jordan [32.5 ppg] and Karl Malone [29.1 ppg]).
In 1986-87, he garnered the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award after averaging 24.9 ppg for the Seattle Supersonics.
During his 19 NBA seasons, he played six-plus years with Seattle and also spent time with Dallas, Milwaukee, San Antonio, Denver, Charlotte. His teams made 10 playoff appearances.
He ranks tied for eighth on the NBA’s all-time list for 3-pointers made (1,719) and tied for 25th in career 3-point shooting percentage (.403).
Ellis appeared in total of 1209 NBA games (589 started), averaging 15.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg in 28.8 minutes per contest.Follow @exnbadotcom
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