One of the legends of the hardwood at Miami University is being honored by the Sports Business Journal for his groundbreaking efforts and lifetime service to basketball. Wayne Embry was profiled in the Feb. 10 issue as part of the 2014 Class of The Champions: Pioneers & Innovators in Sports Business.
Following his graduation from Miami in 1958, Embry was originally drafted by the St. Louis Hawks. He played 11 seasons of professional basketball with the Cincinnati Royals, Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks, and was a five-time NBA All-Star. Embry won an NBA Championship with the Celtics in 1968. He scored 10,380 career points (12.5 ppg), recorded 7,544 rebounds (9.1 rpg) and dealt 1,194 assists (1.4 apg) in 831 career NBA games.
In 1971, Embry was named Milwaukee's General Manger, becoming the first African American GM in the NBA and as well as the first of a major U.S. team sport. From 1985 to 1992, Embry was vice president and general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers and became the NBA's first African American team president with the Cavaliers in 1994. Under the guidance of Embry, the Cleveland Cavaliers averaged 45 wins and had nine playoff appearances over 12 seasons. Embry was appointed senior basketball advisor to the general manager for the Toronto Raptors in 2004, and then became the senior advisor to the president one year later. On January 26, 2006, Embry was named interim general manager for the Raptors.
The Sporting News named him NBA Executive of the Year in 1992 and 1998. Embry also received the highest honor a basketball player/coach/contributor can achieve with his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., as a contributor in 1999. He currently serves as the Senior Basketball Advisor to the President for the NBA's Toronto Raptors.
At Miami, Embry was a two-time All-MAC player and was a third-team Helms Athletic Foundation All-American as a senior in 1957-58. He led Miami to conference championships and NCAA Tournament appearances in 1957 and 1958. Embry led the MAC in scoring and rebounding his last two seasons and still holds several school records, including best career rebounding average (15.5 rpg).
He currently ranks No. 12 on Miami's all-time scoring list with 1,401 points and No. 2 on the all-time rebounding list with 1,117. Embry holds both Miami records for most rebounds in a game (34) and season (488). Embry is one of only 14 players in MAC history to total more than 1,000 career points and rebounds. Miami retired his jersey number 23 in 1995.
Embry was inducted into the Miami Athletics Hall of Fame in 1970. He also was a charter member of the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame and was named the 2013 recipient of the Ohio Heritage Award, which recognizes an Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame inductee for their contributions to the State of Ohio off the court. In 2012, Embry was inducted in the MAC Hall of Fame. A stretch of U.S. Route 40 in front of Tecumseh High School near Springfield, Ohio, also has been named in his honor.
Outside of basketball, Embry has served as a Member of the Board for the following companies and organizations: Centerior Energy Corporation, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Kohl's, M.A. Hanna, Ohio Casualty Insurance Company, and PolyOne. He also was a member of the Board of Trustees at Miami University.