Birthdate: December 3, 1951
Birthplace: Maywood, Illinois
High School: Proviso East HS, 1969 (Maywood, IL)
Colleges: University of Minnesota (1973)
Year Inducted: 2023
A productive and intimidating force at every level of basketball, Jim Brewer endeared himself to Ohio fans by playing the first six years of his NBA career in Cleveland. Most already were well aware of his exploits as he thrived at the prep level in the Midwestern town of Maywood, Ill., and stood out as a powerful low-post presence at each end of the floor playing in the Big Ten for the University of Minnesota.
Listed at 6-9 and 210 pounds for much of his lengthy playing career, Brewer was a bruising center for Proviso East High School in Maywood and led his school to its first-ever state championship. Others who followed in his large footsteps at the school and enjoyed similar success include his nephew Doc Rivers, Michael Finley, Dee Brown and Shannon Brown.
His college teammates included the likes of Clyde Turner, Ron Behagen and Dave Winfield. Playing on one of the best front lines in college basketball, Brewer often recorded double-doubles and was known as an elite interior defender. The Golden Gophers program eventually retired his No. 52 jersey.
Before his senior season at Minnesota, Brewer played for Team USA at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. He then returned to Minneapolis and averaged 14.1 points and 11.6 rebounds in his final year in college. The Cavaliers tabbed him with the second overall pick in the 1973 NBA draft and he played in all 82 games as a rookie, filling an immediate need at power forward on a team featuring playmakers Austin Carr, Lenny Wilkens and Bingo Smith.
Brewer also had playing stints in Detroit, Portland and Los Angeles, winning a ring for the world champion Lakers in 1982. In his nine seasons in the NBA, he accumulated more than 4,000 points, 4,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists. He also played a few years professionally overseas and captured a Euroleague title.
As a pro, however, Brewer is best remembered as a fan favorite for the Cavaliers, winning over patrons for his hustle, defense and knack for making timely plays. When he scored for the Cavs the team’s PA announcer famously would blared “two for Brew!” Jim Brewer enters the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame at 71 years old.