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DC Basketball Legend Passes 1972

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Bill Russell said "If heart and desire were all it took, Ronny Watts would be the best player of all time" which I always thought would make a good headline. Here is a commercial they did together too https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_TzbAQruVc

Ronny Watts passed away on Nov 02, 2022 at age 79. He was born on May 21, 1943 in Washington DC to Doris (Sirota) and Arnold Watts, now deceased. He is survived by two sons, Trent Watts and Russell (Lindsey) Watts, and his sister Suzanne (Nordahl) Watts Brue. He was Grandaddy to Riley and Leila Watts, daughters of Russell, and Uncle Ronny to Alexia Brue, Erik Brue, and Marget (Brue) Ofek. He was much loved by all.

Ronny grew up in Chevy Chase, Md, and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School.

DC Basketball Through his life, people of all ages, and from all stations, were impacted by Ronny's engaging personality, amazed by his grit and determination, and touched by his kindness, compassion and generosity. Ronny met life with gusto and humor -- devilish, mischievous and irreverent, he was fun! Only he could say something a certain way, get away with it, and make you laugh -- because underneath he had a huge heart and showed it. These qualities served him well in all fields --sports, business, and being a devoted father, husband, brother, and son,

Playing basketball as a high-schooler on the competitive basketball courts of Chevy Chase, he was noticed and encouraged by the famed Celtics Coach, Red Auerbach. He won a basketball scholarship to Wake Forest, where he set rebounding records which stood for decades, and led his team to exciting ACC victories against much larger schools. He then captained a gold-medal winning Maccabiah Team. After college, he was drafted by the World Champion Boston Celtics, fulfilling a life-long dream. As a result of his teamwork, and hard work, he earned great respect from his teammates (Sports Illustrated nicknamed him "Bruiser Watts") and created many lifelong friendships. DC Basketball

With his natural charisma, he then appeared in 5 CLIO-award-winning TV Commercials about friendship with his good friend and former teammate Bill Russell. The "Good Friends are for Keeps" series was created for ATT's WATS Line and lead to Ronny becoming the national spokesman for the very successful WATS Line (Wide-Area Telecommunications Service) campaign.

In other professional achievements locally, he co-founded the Fairfax County Public School Education Foundation, raising funds for the Thomas Jefferson School for Science and Technology, served as board member for the Special Olympics, and founded the DC Urban Coalition, organizing summer basketball tournaments in DC. He also was the color announcer for the Washington Bullets, Maryland Terrapins, and Georgetown Hoyas and in 1994 he was elected to the Greater Washington Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. He and his wife, Roxanne, created an award-winning real estate business in the Reston area.

However, nothing gave him more pride and enjoyment than raising his sons...and eating hardshell crabs with family and friends came in a strong second!

In his later life, due to medical challenges, he was a resident of the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington since 2011. There, due to his positive mental attitude and tough mindset, he would often be an inspiration to other patients. He also became a beloved fixture at the adjacent Jewish Community Center where he swam regularly, and made many friends within the Mens Group. Ronny found strength in family and friends, the music he loved and books he read. His mental fortitude was legend, he made innumerable comebacks from critical situations, and many who worked with him said he had the strongest will of anyone they'd ever met.

Donations may be made to MENTOR, the youth mentoring charity founded by his friend, Bill Russell at RonnyWattsMemorial.org


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2000 Points Club: Archie Talley, Salem 3720 Jack Sullivan, Mount Saint Mary 2672, Dave Robinson, Navy 2669, Austin Carr, Notre Dame 2560, Johnny Dawkins, Duke 2556, Jeff Covington, Youngstown State 2424, Carlos Yates, George Mason 2420, Gene Littles,High Point College 2398, Lawrence Moten, Syracuse 2334, Chris McGuthrie. Mount Saint Mary 2297, Greg Saunders, St Bonnies 2238, Louis Bullock, Michigan 2224 Adrian Dantley, Notre Dame 2223, Kenny Saunders, George Mason 2177, Randolph Childress, Wake Forest 2208, Keith Herron, Villanova 2170, Danny Ferry, Duke 2156, Len Bias, Maryland, 2149, Dennis Scott, Georgia Tech 2115, David Hawkins, Temple 2077, Sherman Douglas, Syrcuse 2060, Fred Hentzel, Davidson 2032, Adrian Branch, Maryland 2017 50 Points Club: Archie Talley / Salem College / 11 times / 4 TIMES IN ONE WEEK, Austin Carr/ Notre Dame / 9 times, Elgin Baylor / Seattle / 2 times, Danny Ferry / Duke / 58/ 1time, Will Jones / American University 54 / 1 time, Fred Hetzel / Davidson / 53/ 1 time, Dave Robinson / Navy/ 50 /1time, Jack Sullivan / Mount St.Marys / 50 / 2 times, Jack Sullivan / Mount St.Marys / 40 / 6 times 40 Points Club: Austin Carr / Notre Dame / 23 times, Archie Talley / Salem College / 20 times, Elgin Baylor / Seattle College / 4 times, John Austin / Boston College / 4 times, Fred Hetzel / Davidson College / 4 times, Dave Robinson / Navy / 4 times, Dave Bing / Syracuse / 3 times, Michael Beasley / Kansas State / 3 times, Adrian Dantley / Notre Dame / 3 times, Kenny Carr / Nc State / 3times, Jerry Chambers / Utah / 3 times, Will Jones / American U./ 2 times, Greg Sanders / St Bonnies / 2 times, Bob Lewis / North Carolina /2 times, Scottie Reynolds / Villanova / 2 times, Danny Ferry / Duke / 1 time, Bob Whitmore / Notre Dame / 1 time, Collis Jones / Notre Dame / 1 time, Jeff Covington / Youngstown State / 1 time, Randolph Childress / Wake Forest / 1 time, Ronnie Hogue / Georgia / 1 time, Eugene Oliver / South Alabama / 1 time, Carlos Yates / George Mason / 1 time, Monte Williams / Norte Dame / 1 time, Hawkeye Whitney / Nc. State / 1 time, Lenny Bias / Maryland U / 1 time, David Hawkins / Temple / 1 time, Kermit Washington / American / 1 time, Skeeter Swift / East Tenn.State / 1 time NBA Rookie of Year: Elgin Baylor- Spingarn, Dave Bing- Spingarn, Adrian Dantley- DeMatha, Dave Robinson- Woodbridge, Grant Hill- South Lake, Steve Francis-, Kevin Durant- Montrose Christian NBA Hall Of Fame: Earl Lloyd, Dallas Shirley, Elgin Baylor, Dave Bing, Morgan Wooten, John Thompson Sr., Adrian Dantley Assist Club: Sherman Douglas - Syracuse U. / 22 assist, Kelvin Scarborough - New Mexico / 21 assists, Grayson Marshall - Clemson U. / 20 assists, Jan Panell - Oklahoma U. / 18 assists, Sidney Lowe - N.C. State / 18 assists, Brian Ellerbe - Rutgers U. / 16 assists, Charlie Smith - Georgetown U. / 16 assists, Jay Gallagher - Mount St. Mary’s / 15 assists, Penny Greene - U. of South Florida / 15 assists, Moochie Norris - West Florida / 15 assists, Harold Fox - Jacksonville U. / 14 assists, Stan Washington - San Diego / 14 assists, Toney Ellis - Colorado / 13 assists, Cricket Williams - Jacksonville U. / 13 assists, Michael Jackson - Georgetown / 13 assists, John Duren - Georgetown / 13 assists, Steve Francis - Maryland / 13 assists, Eddie Jordan - Rutgers / 13 assists, Tom Amaker - Duke / 13 assists
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