Ex-NBA players in Detroit: working with students, officials, holding golf outings

willie-burtonNBRPA (National Basketball Retired Players Association) has chapters in all over the U.S., and many former NBA players are the presidents of those chapters.

In particular, Willie Burton, a former NBA forward, is the president of the NBRPA’s Detroit Chapter. He attended The University of Minnesota where he helped lead the Golden Gophers to the Sweet Sixteen (1989) and the Elite Eight (1990).

Burton was also inducted into the Detroit Catholic High School Hall of Fame in 1990.

In 1990, Burton was selected by the Miami Heat in the first round of the NBA Draft. He played nine years (1990-1999) in the NBA as a member of numerous teams including the Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, and the San Antonio Spurs.

After leaving basketball, Burton went back to The University of Minnesota to complete his degree.

Burton recently joined NBRPA for an interview about his activities as the president of the NBRPA’s Detroit chapter. He said in particular that the chapter is looking to expand in working with three different school districts in Detroit, and work on mentorship programs with students as well as student athletes.

“I felt that there were opportunities for retired basketball players to use our visibility to work within our communities here in the city of Detroit and bring a vast number of resources to assist the community,” Burton said.

He went on to add that the goals of the chapter is to be involved in the community efforts and initiatives that will boost the community.

“We plan on having a golf outing, hosting fundraisers, and engaging with high school students as well as working with our city and state officials,” Burton noted.

Burton was selected by the Miami Heat in the 1st round (9th overall pick) in the 1990 NBA Draft from the University of Minnesota. He earned Second-Team All-Rookie Team status, averaging 12 ppg in his rookie year.

Burton also scored 53 points in a game for the Philadelphia 76ers against his former Heat team on December 13, 1994.

Burton averaged career high 15.3 ppg for the Sixers during the 1994-95 NBA season. He finished his career with 316 NBA games (started in 118), with averages of 10.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg in 21.1 mpg.


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