PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – Peekskill High School graduate Elton Brand signed with the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday, marking his return to the NBA after announcing his retirement in August.
In a first-person piece in Sports Illustrated, the 36-year-old said he will look to serve as a mentor for the struggling 76ers (3-33) and some of their younger players.
“The truth is, my decision to return to the NBA isn’t about money, and it isn’t about rings,” Brand wrote. “It’s about repaying what’s owed, about making sure that the young men who follow in my footsteps get what they’re entitled to.”
Brand will have plenty experience to share. At Peekskill, Brand averaged 40 points and 20 rebounds, leading the school to two state championships. He was named New York State Mr. Basketball and, after moving on to play at Duke, College Player of the Year.
Brand was picked first overall in the 1999 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls. He also played for the Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks, and Dallas Mavericks, averaging 16.1 points and 8.6 rebounds and earning $167 million over his 16-year-career.
After he had sub-par averages of 2.7 points and 2.8 rebounds in 36 games for the Hawks last season, Brand decided to call it quits, announcing his retirement at Peekskill High School in front of children there for Elton Brand Youth Day.
But in making his return partway through the NBA season, Brand said he hopes “to be a positive influence on a young team with an incredibly bright future” and “give back to the game that has given me so much.”
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