That's not to say he's not still awesome as a person or even fairly awesome as a basketball player, but the following story from the archives will solidify his prior awesomeness to a premier standard. A little backstory first. Elton Brand went to Duke University at a time where everyone and their wealthy, wicked-smart mothers stayed four years in Durham. Brand, along with uninjured (!) freshman Corey Maggette and "Who?" William Avery, all shed their Dookie colors in favor of the NBA pastures.
There were a few more-than-slightly-irked Blue Devil loyalists miffed at Brand, the best among the three, for tarnishing the holier than thou image that is Duke basketball. Here's an email exchange from after Brand declared in 1999, via an article from Kentucky Wildcats SBN site A Sea of Blue back in 2007. Yes, this took a circuitous route to our little blog.
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. As an alum, not only do I hold the school in high regard, but the basketball program as well, especially since both have deservedly garnered such a great deal of respect for their accomplishments.
As part of our basketball program, you represent Duke as a whole. We are first and foremost an academic school, you clearly did not belong at Duke in the first place if this was the extent of your commitment to Duke and a college education in general. 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.
If you do not realize the opportunity you has in front of you to play for Coach K and at the same time attain a Duke diploma, then that is certainly your loss. I just wish that you has spared us the notion that you were continuing in the tradition of being a Duke student-athlete, in emphasizing excellence in both academics and athletics. 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.
She certainly feels spurned with her blue and white facepaint evident even via this email. Hop on a Dookie keg stand and click below the fold for Elton's simply awesome response to Miss Prep School.
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. I would also like to extend an invitation for you not to waste your or my time ever again. Never being considered a part of your posh group of yuppies really hurts me to the heart. Yeah, right. Because I don't care about you or your alumni.
Elton Brand #42 NBA
Wow. That's just great. Especially signing his name with "NBA" in the signature. Talk about a complete cockslap. Also love how he waited nine days to respond to this message. She probably thought he ignored it and got sad, but no, he was busy practicing for the National Basketball Association - not looking for entry-level jobs on whatever people used before Craigslist and apartments in Hoboken.
Elton has confirmed that this was actually real, which makes this ownage that much more pronounced. He was also just 20 when he wrote this.
Side note: William Avery may be the worst NBA player of all time. Just look at all those negative win shares!
How filthy is that EB response on a scale of Speedy Claxton (the least filthy) to Dana Barros (the filthiest)? I'm saying it's like a Terrell Brandon pre-injury. I'm not sure why point guards are the barometer in this instance.