WE REALLY WANT TO BE ELTON BRAND, AND HERE’S WHY: Elton Brand is one of the best players in the NBA, but you don’t download him dunking on YouTube, see him berate officials, hear about him having multiple children out of wedlock or observe him dating talentless famewhores. In other words, he’s off the sports celebrity radar screen (which obviously suits him just fine).
Thankfully, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’s Arash Markazi had the good sense to recently chronicle Brand’s charitable works (he only raised $2M for children suffering from genetic birth defects in a single night last week - donating $100,000 of his own money).
And in an even more shocking development, BRAND IS MARRIED (!) to a lovely lady named Shahara.
While Brand’s rep in the Association is unparalled, his personal file is incomplete without this legendary email exchange between a young Brand and a silver-spooned Duke alum following his decision to enter the NBA Draft after his soph season at Cameron:
“From: Taylor, Jennifer
Sent: Friday, April 16, 1999 2:55 PM
To: Brand, Elton
Subject: Leaving Duke
I graduated from Duke last May and just wanted to express my disgust for your decision to leave the Duke program after only two years. …
You have not only insulted the current students who are putting in four years at a school they love, but also the thousands of alumni who have realized the value of a Duke education and what an honor and privilege it was to be there for four years.
You will not be considered part of the Duke family, in my mind as well as many others. You have by no means proved yourself worthy of that title.
From: Elton Tyron Brand
Sent: Sunday, April 25, 1999 8:05 PM
To: Taylor, Jennifer
Subject: Re: Leaving Duke
Thank you very much, for reminding me of the reason why I left Duke. People like you can not and will not ever understand my situation. I’m sure daddy worked very hard to send your rich self to college. While real people struggle. Never being considered a part of your posh group of yuppies really hurts me to the heart. Sincerely, Elton Brand #42 NBA”
The veracity of that electronic mail melee is not a certainty. But it does gives us hope that sometimes the right people still do the right thing at the right time - despite the cocooned cacophony of the so-called cultural elite.