Elton Brand’s ascent from retiree to General Manager of the 76ers was certainly a swift, impressive one. It took less than two years for him to rise from the ranks of player personnel consultant, to the top decision-making position on the basketball side of the organization.
Now charged with overseeing the team he played parts of five seasons for, Brand will look to lead the young, promising Sixers into the next phase of their collective growth.
On this episode of The BroadCast, check out an interview with the former no. 1 pick and two-time All-Star. Over the course of the conversation, he lays out his vision for the club, explains how he handled his GM interview with ownership, and reflects on some of his leadership influences.
Also, find a few excerpts from the chat below.
What was your approach to going for the GM opening?
“I felt I had to step up. There were two sides, because I was also taking a risk. I could be in player development longer, I could be GM of the Blue Coats, I could be VP of Basketball Operations of the Sixers, but for this group – the group that we have here currently that got us to this spot, and I’m talking about the core group off the court – I need to step up and just go for it, and that’s what I did.”
What was the interview process like [for the GM position]?
“Preparation was important. I really prepared – looked at vision, looked at sample questions, talked to various GMs, agents, and even owners. I called a few owners to say, ‘Hey, what are you looking for in a GM?,’ just so I was prepared if I did get the job, but also for the interview. In the room, it started off [Managing Partner] Josh [Harris] and myself first. Then [co-Managing Partner] David Blitzer. Then I knew it got real when I was meeting with [CEO] Scott O’Neil, Josh, and David together, and the questioning changed. It went from not vision and player personnel to more, ‘If you get the job, how would you handle this situation,’ and things of that nature, so that’s when I said, ‘Ok, I really do have a chance.’”
Who have been some of your leadership influences?
“Of course, the ex-President [Barack] Obama, the way he communicated. That was a great way to lead. [Agent] David Falk, a mentor of mine, he’s been great in the business of basketball. And then, Brett Brown. He’s a great leader. People want to work for him, people want to give their best for him, and they exude that. It’s the environment that makes that happen.
How do you try to grow two preeminent talents [like Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons] together?
“Winning. Winning cures all, and I think last year in Boston, losing will propel us. They want to win. That’s their only mindset is winning. That’s all their about. They understand they can’t do it individually, and they’re going to need help to get to the ultimate goal of winning championships. So that really helps, it’s all about winning. If you don’t win, that’s when you get fraction.”
What would constitute a successful season for Markelle Fultz?
“Markelle, what I’ve seen so far, is very encouraging. He’s working tirelessly. We talk about adding another piece from free agency or trade, but we may have another young, talented superstar in-house. Successful season for him is just being the number one pick. Coming out there playing, being confident in his ability, which he has been we’ve seen all summer, and just going from there. His ball-handling skills, his passing skills, his profile to play defense at 6’6”. If he does those things well, he’ll be fine.”
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