Gregory Kelser (born September 17, 1957) is a retired American basketball player and current television color commentator. Kelser played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1979 to 1985 and is best known for his standout college basketball career at Michigan State.

Greg Kelser
Personal information
Born (1957-09-17) September 17, 1957 (age 64)
Panama City, Florida
Listed height6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
Listed weight190 lb (86 kg)
Career information
High schoolHenry Ford (Detroit, Michigan)
CollegeMichigan State (1975–1979)
NBA draft1979 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4th overall
Selected by the Detroit Pistons
Playing career1979–1985
PositionSmall forward
Number32, 3, 20, 11
Career history
19791981Detroit Pistons
19811983Seattle SuperSonics
1983–1984San Diego Clippers
1985Indiana Pacers
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points2,961 (9.7 ppg)
Rebounds1,402 (4.6 rpg)
Assists411 (1.3 apg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at
Stats at

Early lifeEdit

Kelser grew up in a military family, spending part of his childhood in Okinawa. He credits his exposure to military discipline with contributing to his later success in athletics.[1]

College careerEdit

Upon graduating from Detroit Henry Ford High School in 1975, Kelser was brought to Michigan State by Gus Ganakas, who left the head coach position after Kelser's freshman season.[1] His impressive on-court skills earned him the sobriquet "Special K", after the locally-made cereal.[2] In his junior year (the freshman year for Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Jay Vincent) under coach Jud Heathcote, the Spartans squad had an impressive season, racking up a 25–5 record, the Big Ten Conference title, and a berth in the 1978 NCAA tournament,[3] where they made it to the regional finals before losing narrowly to eventual champion Kentucky.[4] As a senior, he along with Johnson led the Spartans to the 1979 NCAA tournament championship, the first in the school's history. He was often on the receiving end of spectacular alley-oop passes from Johnson. He later wrote a book about his basketball experiences at MSU.[5]

Kelser finished his career at Michigan State as a 2-time Academic All-American, something he credits Jud Heathcote for keeping him on task to achieve. He was the very first Big-10 player, and remains the only player in Spartan basketball history, to score over 2,000 points with over 1,000 rebounds.[6]

NBA careerEdit

Kelser was drafted by the Pistons in 1979, but was later traded to the Seattle SuperSonics in exchange for Vinnie Johnson in 1981. Kelser also spent a season with the San Diego Clippers and part of a season with the Indiana Pacers. Kelser noted that Larry Bird brutally went after him whenever one of Kelser's teams played Boston, surmising that this was because Kelser's Michigan State team beat Bird's Indiana State Sycamores for the 1979 title. Kelser also said that he never sought or wanted to have a friendly relationship with Bird; when asked for a response, Bird said that he didn't recall Kelser ever doing anything of note in the NBA.

Post-NBA careerEdit

Since leaving the NBA, Kelser has worked extensively as a sports announcer and/or commentator on radio and television.[2] He is a commentator for Pistons games on Bally Sports Detroit with his partner George Blaha and on the Big Ten Network.

Personal lifeEdit

Kelser, who likes to diversify his activities, has had many interests away from basketball, including collecting soul and jazz records, fishing for silver bass and walleye, playing softball, criminal law with a special interest in juvenile delinquents, and working in a Lansing, Michigan television station in which he and Magic Johnson had a vested interest.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Greg Kelser: All-American On The Court And In The Classroom". Michigan State University Athletics. Michigan State University. February 22, 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
  2. ^ a b "Greg Kelser". Hoopedia - The Basketaball Wiki. NBA Media Ventures, LLC. Retrieved 2009-04-04. External link in |work= (help)
  3. ^ "Michigan State Michigan State University Spartans, Official Athletic Site - Michigan State". Archived from the original on 2009-04-12. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  4. ^ 1978 NCAA Basketball Tournament (ShrpSports.Com) Archived 2009-04-13 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Kelser, Gregory; Grinczel, Steve (October 1, 2006). Greg Kelser's Tales from Michigan State Basketball. Sports Publishing LLC. ISBN 978-1-59670-051-2.
  6. ^ "Greg Kelser: All-American on the Court and in the Classroom".
  7. ^ USA Today. December 7, 1982

External linksEdit