Buckeye alumn, NBA journeyman Sellers recalls days with Jordan

COLUMBUS – Brad Sellers has always been a big man. The 7-footer was the tallest man on campus during his time at Ohio State.

These days the lanky Sellers is even bigger in his hometown of Warrensville Heights. He is serving his second year of a three-year term as the city’s mayor.

Sellers played for four NBA teams and several teams in Europe. Seldom do professional athletes turn to politics as a second career. Coaching seems to be a much more common transition.

“No,” said Sellers when asked if he ever thought about coaching. “You have to have a certain demeanor for that. I have the demeanor for politics.”

Sellers is also an analyst for Cleveland Cavaliers television and radio broadcasts and serves as a color commentator for SportsTime Ohio broadcasts. He still follows Warrensville Heights sports and wants to use his mayoral position to improve the schools.

“For a school district to succeed you must have good academics, athletics and the arts,” he said. “On this side I can help support all of this. I can get public policies in place where it helps these things.”

The always friendly Sellers was a fan favorite while a member of the Buckeyes. He was a first-round draft choice of the Chicago Bulls (ninth overall) in 1986. He played for the Bulls for three seasons and three other NBA teams before playing in Europe from 1993-2000.

Never one to shy away from a story, he was quick to answer when asked to share a memory about Michael Jordan.

Sellers said the Bulls were playing an exhibition game in North Carolina. Scottie Pippen stole the ball and gave it to Jordan at midcourt with Sellers breaking up the court with no one around him.

“I’m waiting for the ball,” Sellers said. “I was ready to dunk.”

Instead, Jordan beat his man and went for the dunk himself.

“Later on we’re in the shower and Scottie says, ‘Damn, Michael. You (saw) Brad. Why didn’t you pass him the ball?’ ” Sellers recalled. “Michael looked at him and said, ‘They didn’t come here to see Brad dunk.’ “

Jordan was always rumored to be one of the fiercest competitors on the planet.

“He always had to win at everything,” Sellers said.

Jordan had an idea to break up the monotony at airports. He asked everyone to put $20 in the pot and whosever luggage came out first, that person would win the money.

“The first two or three times we had different winners,” Sellers said. “Then the next trip Michael wins. Then it started becoming the norm, he’d win almost every time.”

There was a reason.

“He finally told us that we were a bunch of suckers,” Sellers said. “He’d paid the sky cabs to get his bags off first.”

Sellers was at the Jerome Schottenstein Center watching Friday’s state semifinals and preparing for the state finals’ broadcast. As he leaned his chair all the way back to make room for his legs he reminisced about St. John Arena, where the tournament was played until 1999.

“I do miss St. John,” he said. “I remember seeing Clark Kellogg from the tip-top of the rafters when he scored 51. No one really had any idea he had that many points. I remember the announcer saying, ‘Clark Kellogg leaves the game with a state (championship game) record 51 points’. That place had character.”