Born February 28, 1978, no one knew that Francisco Elson to become a basketball star. He was born in the Netherlands to parents who are both from Suriname.
Because of his diverse background, he is fluent in English, Spanish, Dutch, German and South American Suriname.
In 2007, he was recognized by his hometown of Rotterdam with the Faas Wilkes Award. Named after a famous Dutch soccer player, the award is the highest honor that the city can give to an athlete.
Like all skilled basketball players, Elson’s career began at a very young age. When he was 12, he began playing for AMVJ Rotterdam, now known as Rotterdam Basketball. He played for the team for two years, and then stopped. However, when he was 16 his gym teacher asked him to come back and play. Clearly, basketball was in Elson’s future.
Elson began his American basketball career at Kilgore Junior College in Texas. He played basketball for them for two years before transferring to the University of California-Berkley. In 1999, we was drafted by the Denver Nuggets, but chose not to begin playing for them until 2003.
Between his college and NBA career, Elson played basketball in Europe. From 1999 to 2001, he played for FC Barcelona, and from 2001 to 2002 he played for Pamesa Valencia. Finally, from 2002 to 2003, he played for the Caja San Fernando, where he posted a career high average of 9.7 points per game and 8.2 rebounds per game.
Finally, in 2003 Elson was ready to begin his NBA career. In his first two seasons with the Denver Nuggets, he averaged just 3.4 points per game. In his third season, he improved slightly, averaging 4.9 points per game and playing in 72 games. He also had a 53.2% shooting average.
Elson came to the forefront of the NBA when he played very rough against Minnesota in the 2004 play-off series in Denver. Early in the game, he knocked Minnesota’s Kevin Garrett into the stands with a very hard foul. Later in that same game Garrett retaliated with a strike to Elson’s groin. Elson later had to apologize to the gay and lesbian community for calling Garrett “gay” in response to the groin shot.
Elson has had many career transactions while in the NBA. In July of 2006, he signed a multi-million dollar contract with the San Antonio Spurs.
However, he only played for the Spurs for two years before being traded to the Sonics in exchange for Curt Thomas. Then, on February 18, 2010, he was traded to the Philadelphia ‘76ers, and finally signed a contract with the Utah Jazz on September 15, 2010.