As it happens, Andy Elisburg -- the spelling is different because that branch of the family, which was my dad's Uncle Louis, changed it many years ago in Chicago, long story -- hadn't just join the team recently, but been with the Miami Heat for 30 years, indeed before they even played their first game in the NBA. (Ah, parents. I asked my dad, "How could you not have ever told me that??!!" He answer was very fatherly -- "I don't know, it never occurred to me to." I believe my response was something along the lines of, "DAD!!!")
Actually, in fairness to my dad, Andy was only Assistant General Manager at the time of our conversation. He since has recently been promoted to General Manager, period.
Over the next few years, I got in touch with that branch, and had a wonderful, and long, three-hour lunch with his parents Don and Nancy when they visited Los Angeles. (Don's father Herb and my dad were first-cousins, you can figure out the rest of all the lineage to me on your own.) We've stayed in fairly-regular touch, and last winter I finally had a chance to visit with Andy over breakfast when the Heat came to town to play the Lakers and Clippers. Nice fellow, with a very interesting story. His movement through the team over the decades has been particularly impressive since, unlike most General Managers he never played competitive sports. He moved up from PR intern to General Manager on pure hard work and ability. Hey, just being with a pro sports team for 30 years in any capacity is seriously impressive. There is a sister in the Elisburg clan, as well, Michelle, who's a doctor though we haven't crossed paths yet. But my dad, who was a doctor, did track her down a year before he passed away and thoroughly enjoyed his exchanges, particularly with her being an accomplished fellow doctor.
Andy has always been a behind-the-scenes guy for the team, almost never in the spotlight, but the Miami Herald just wrote a long and glowing article about him -- not just his career and being made GM, but also being inducted last Sunday into his college's Hall of Fame. Glowing, as in, when the Heat's coach Erik Spoelstra says, "Anything that goes on in this building, Andy is in the know, and he’s basically running everything behind the scenes. Everybody in this organization knows that." Spoelstra then added, “Andy’s a great role model for young people. He didn’t play in the league. He didn’t play in college. But he learned every aspect of this business. It’s a great honor, and it’s well-deserved.”
It's an extremely good article that's interesting to read with little to do with sports, but rather about succeeding against the unlikeliest of odds. I'm biased, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong. You can read it here.