If you’re like me, you’ve often wondered how to effectively generate new business opportunities in Warrensville Heights, Ohio.
And it was while researching “The Friendly City” that I discovered that Brad Sellers, who plied his trade in Seattle for only half of the 1989-90 season as part of a 4-team, 6-year NBA career, is the Community Liaison Director for the Economic Development Department.
My opening paragraphs come across as snide, but that’s where the sarcasm ends. Normally, our “Where Are They Now?” pieces focus on the travails of former Sonics (see: Threatt, Sedale and Barros, Dana). Sellers, however, has taken it upon himself to give something back to the town in which he was raised, and not the give something back which entails showing up at photo opportunities at neighborhood parks, quickly followed by hopping in an SUV and heading back home before the scissors have finished cutting the ribbon.
Brad Sellers is not golfing every day as he anticipated in retirement, but is, instead, mired in the day-to-day tedium of municipal affairs of a small town 20 minutes from downtown Cleveland. Whether it’s helping to build a $5 million apartment building for seniors or receiving a $1 million grant for neighborhood transportation planning projects, Sellers has put his energy into making his hometown a better place to live, so that other kids might enjoy the life he’s enjoyed.
It is thankless, tedious, and, quite frankly, boring to preside and attend meeting after meeting, with progress measured not in wins and losses but in words and amendments. It is the life of a city official, and it is a life to which few of us aspire.
Sellers could be forgiven for forgetting anyone ever mentioned the idea to him of serving as a Director with his hometown’s Economic Development Department. After all, who chooses that title as a follow-up on their resume to Professional Basketball Player? Still, as he says during this speech, “It is our job to set the table and set the standards for people to follow.”
100 years from now, no one will remember what Brad Sellers did as a basketball player, any more than they will remember what Dale Ellis or Xavier McDaniel or Shawn Kemp did – that’s the transience of fame. But if Brad Sellers can help revitalize a city in northern Ohio, and, in so doing, improve the future of thousands of children, what he did as a basketball player will pale in comparison to what he did as a human being.