Sean Elliott Bio: Wife, Kidney, Net Worth & Spurs

This article was last updated by on

The 1999 NBA champion, Sean Elliott, is a former professional basketball player in the NBA after his 1989 NBA Draft. 

Besides that, he served as a small forward for the Detroit Pistons for the 1993–1994 season before returning to the Spurs.

He played collegiate basketball for the University of Arizona, which also retired Elliott’s number 32. 

Sean, a two-time NBA All-star (1993, 1996), was an exceptional basketball player in the NBA,

He also was the athlete who broke Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s all-time Pac-10 scoring record in college.

Sean Elliott Attending An Event
Sean Elliott Attending An Event (Source: Instagram)

On top of that, he was Arizona’s all-time leading scorer and was very popular for his basketball skills. Not to mention, Elliott has won several awards for his contribution to collegiate basketball.

Sean received the John R. Wooden Award, Adolph Rupp Trophy, NABC Player of the Year, and AP Player of the Year in 1989. Moreover, he was named to the Consensus first-team All-American twice (1988, 1989).

Aside from that, he won a gold medal with the US Team in the 1986 FIBA World Championship.

After his successful basketball career, Sean has progressed as a color analyst in his post-career and is with the Spurs.

Before getting into details about the former Spurs player’s life and career, here are some quick facts about him. 

Quick Facts

Full Name Sean Michael Elliott
Birth Date February 2, 1968
Birth Place Tucson, Arizona, the United States 
Nick Name Ninja, Silly 
Religion Christian
Nationality American
Ethnicity Afro American
Education University Of Arizona 
Horoscope Aquarius
Father’s Name Robert Elliott
Mother’s Name Odiemae Elliott
Siblings Two; Noel & Bobby Elliott
Age 56 Years Old
Height 6’8″/203 cm/2.03 m
Weight 205 lb./92 kg
Hair Color Black
Eye Color Brown
Build Athletic
  • NBA Player (Former)
  • Color Analyst (Present)
Former Team San Antonio Spurs, Detroit Pistons
Position Small Forward
Active Years 1989-2001
Marital Status Married
Wife Claudia Brittingham
Kids Three; Jordyn Elliott, Tad Elliot & Jada Elliot
Net Worth $16 Million
Social Media Instagram, Twitter
Merchandise Spurs Rookie Card, Signed Card (NBA All-Star)
Jersey Number 32
Last Updated July 2024

Early Life, Family & Education

Sean Elliott was born in Tucson, Arizona, the United States. His parents are Robert Elliott and Odiemae Elliott. 

Sean’s parents divorced when he was quite young. His mother was a registered critical care nurse at Tucson VA Hospital. 

Odiemae graduated from the University of Arizona’s Nursing College in 1977. As a single mother, she raised the NBA player and his older brothers, Noel and Bobby Elliott. 

As a result, her boys were very close to her. Not to mention, Odiemae was Sean’s biggest supporter and biggest fan. 

Sean Elliott Kids
Sean Elliott With His Family (Source: Twitter)

Even though she had a hectic schedule as a critical care nurse, she tried her best to attend all of her son’s games from high school to college.

His mother was very proud of his accomplishments and would boast about the life he made out of himself. Sadly, Odiemae passed away in 2014 after a long battle with cancer.

The small forward was devastated and expressed his remorse in an interview, “[I am] devastated but relieved that she’s not in pain anymore.”

Nevertheless, Sean was very proud of her life and the impact she had on people’s life. 

Besides that, the athlete’s father, Robert was not fond of attention, so he lived most of his life out of the limelight.

Nonetheless, he was reportedly a loving and caring father to his children but unfortunately passed away after a year in 2015.

Age, And Body Measurement

The small forward was born on February 2, 1968. Hence, he is 56 years old as of 2024.

Besides that, Elliott is 6 feet 8 inches (2.03 m) tall and weighs around 220 lb (100 kg). 

Furthermore, the former athlete takes great care of his health and diet. As a result, he is quite fit and fine for a guy in his 50s.


As a middle-schooler, the NBA player attended Tolson Elementary School, where he participated in the Gifted and Talented Education program.

Afterward, Sean enrolled at Cholla High School, which gained popularity thanks to the attendance of Sean, who is now a staple name as a basketball player.

The school even renamed the gymnasium Sean Elliott Gymnasium, and the school’s halls are covered with the NBA player’s high school jerseys.

Following an exceptional career with the Cholla Chargers, he decided to play collegiate basketball for the University of Arizona.

Basketball Career

Collegiate Career

After graduating from Cholla High School, he attended the University of Arizona in 1985. Further, he played collegiate basketball for the Arizona Wildcats under coach Lute Olson.

For the first 1985–86 season with the Wildcats, he played 32 games averaging 15.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. Hence, he revived the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year award in 1988 and 1989.

His stats increased for the next two seasons. Similarly, he had a career-high 22.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.0 steals per game in his 1988–89 season. 

As a result, he is still the all-time leading scorer for the University of Arizona. Ninja played for the US national team in the 1986 FIBA World Cup and won a gold medal.

College Stats

Career 133 33.8 .512 .456 .793 6.1 3.4

NBA Career

San Antonio Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs drafted the former champion as the third overall pick in the 1989 NBA Draft. Further, as a rookie, he started in 69 out of 81 games averaging 10 points per game.

The Spurs entered the NBA playoff that season just to be knocked out in the semi-finals. However, the next season Elliott was moved into the starting lineup permanently.

This sparked a major change in the regular season as they won 55 of their 82 games. Nonetheless, they fell short of the Warriors in the first round of the postseason.

The next two seasons were the same as they failed to get past the first round. As a result, the Spurs trade him for Dennis Rodman in a multi-player deal.

After spending just one season with Detroit Pistons, he was again traded back to the Spurs. During the 1997-98 season, the player only played 39 games due to multiple injuries. 

Despite their best efforts, the championship drought continued for his team; until the 1998-1999 season.

Therefore, Elliott started in all 50 games with an average of 11.2 points a game.

Elliott performed exceptionally well during the playoff. As a result, he won his first NBA Championship by averaging 11.9 points in 17 games in the playoffs.

Additionally, he played two more seasons with the Spurs but failed to win the title again. Thus, after 12 years, he retired from competitive basketball in 2001.

Detroit Pistons & Spurs Return

After playing four seasons with the Spurs, they trade him to the Detroit Pistons. Even though Elliott was a great player, he struggled with the Pistons.

As of this, the Detroit team decided to trade him to the Houston Rockets. However, the trade fell through because of his kidney problem. 

As a result, he remained with the Pistons for the remainder of the season, averaging 12.1 points per game. Nonetheless, he was traded back to the Spurs in the offseason.

He returned to the Spurs in 1994 and stayed there till 2001. During his stint with Spur, he won an NBA Championship in 1999 and was a two-time NBA All-Star.

He also won a gold medal at the 1986 FIBA World Championship.

Career Stats

Year GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT%
Career 742 712 33.0 .465 .375 .800

Achievements & Highlights

  • NBA champion (1999)
  • 2× NBA All-Star (1993, 1996)
  • NBA All-Rookie Second Team (1990)
  • No. 32 retired by San Antonio Spurs
  • John R. Wooden Award (1989)
  • Adolph Rupp Trophy (1989)
  • NABC Player of the Year (1989)
  • AP Player of the Year (1989)
  • 2× Consensus first-team All-American (1988, 1989)
  • 2× Pac-10 Player of the Year (1988, 1989)
  • 3× First-team All-Pac-10 (1987–1989)
  • 2× Pac-10 tournament MVP (1988, 1989)
  • Pac-10 Freshman of the Year (1986)
  • No. 32 retired by Arizona Wildcats
  • McDonald’s All-American (1985)

Post Career

After his last year in NBA, he hung his boots in 2001 with an average score of 14.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game.

Elliott started as a basketball analyst for The NBA on NBC and, during the 2003-2004 season, for ABC Sports and ESPN.

He left that position and became the color commentator for local flavor Spurs Broadcasting.


Elliott’s inspirational comeback and solid career were recognized by the Spurs on March 6, 2005, when his #32 jersey was retired and hung in the rafters of the SBC Center.

Kidney Transplant

Right after Elliott had won the NBA Championship title with the Spurs, he revealed that he was battling a serious kidney disease known as focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.

Sean had known about the diagnosis since 1993 but had been fighting it silently.

As a result of his disease, his kidneys could not filter off waste from his blood. His condition only worsened with time.

Sean Elliott While Basketball Practice
Sean Elliott While Basketball Practice (Source: Wikipedia)

Shortly after, the doctors clarified that the NBA player needed a kidney transplant to save his life. Hence, his brother Noel got tested and matched to be a donor. 

On August 16, 1999, the basketball player and his older brother underwent surgery to have a kidney transplant. In 2000, he became the first player to return to the NBA after a kidney transplant.   

In 2019, Sean and Noel celebrated 20 years of a kidney transplant. The Spurs’ color commentator continues to spread awareness about transplants through his platform.

Marriage, Wife, And Kids

Elliott married Claudia Zapata on October 12th, 2001. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and has a Master of Science in Nutrition.

She is deeply passionate about healthy eating and leading an active life. Similarly, Claudia loves weight lifting, working, and doing yoga. 

Zapata is also the creator of The Diplomacy Diet, which she explained in her blog as an “art of negotiation, used to broker deals that lead to positive and lasting lifestyle changes.

Besides that, her blog is, where she shares healthy recipes and many more.  

Sean Elliott With His Wife Claudia And Kids On Their Wedding Day
Sean Elliott With His Wife Claudia And Kids On Their Wedding Day (Source: Twitter)

The RDN can also be seen on morning shows like San Antonio Living and Great Day SA. Moreover, she serves as a TV host for Spectrum’s Simply San Antonio segments.

The NBA player’s wife is strictly against cleanses, detox diets, and cheat meals, believing food should be savored and guilt-free.

She promotes healthy recipes, fitness, workout tips, and routines through her Instagram handle. 

The couple have three grown kids, Tad, Jordyn, and Jada. The kids were very young when Zapata and Elliot married in 2001. 

Tad is a Harvard graduate, and Jada, the oldest daughter, works in health insurance in Minneapolis, whereas Jordyn, the youngest, is in public relations in San Francisco. 

They all are happily living as a big family, but Claudia is not the biological mother to Jordyn.


Sean was previously married to Akiko Herron from 1993 to 2000. The former couple has a daughter named Jordyn Elliott. Unlike her father, Jordyn plays collegiate football at the University of California, Berkeley. 

Although their family is not conventional, they are very close to each other. Sean’s daughters are very fond of their stepmom; Tad has a fantastic bond with Elliott, and the siblings are quite affectionate. 

Net Worth And Salary

The former Spurs player earned most of his wealth through his amazing career in the NBA, around $16 million as of 2024. 

However, his overall career earnings amount to $40,626,666. His salary with the Spurs and Pistons ranged from $1 million$5 million.

Besides that, he served as an analyst for well-known networks like NBC, ABC Sports, and ESPN. As a well-experienced basketballer who has won an NBA title, we can assume he earned well with the networks. 

He was a color commentator for the San Antonio Spurs and has hosted a college game with Fox Sports 1.

The NBA commentators get paid a minimum of $1 million and the highest of $6 million. Sean is probably also making that much annually, without a doubt.

Furthermore, he works with several charities and healthcare that contribute to organ donating and receiving.

Sean has made large career earnings through his NBA career but is also earning enough via the color analyst position.

Social Media Presence

The NBA player is quite active on various social media platforms. Hence, he has an Instagram handle with 13.8k followers. 

He mainly shares his life as a post-NBA player through his Instagram handle. In most of his posts, Sean can be seen inside the basketball court with Bill Land, where the players love to joke around with him.

Besides that, the small forward has shared many pictures with his beautiful wife and lovely children. 

Similarly, the former athlete also has a Twitter handle with 45.6k followers.  

The analyst usually shares NBA-related news, events, and highlights. Likewise, he also tweets about collegiate basketball and the Spurs.

During the Black Lives Matter protest, Sean used his platform to raise awareness against the systemic racism deeply rooted in America. 

Search Graph 

Sean is a man of steel, and even after the life-threatening kidney transplant, he returned to the court.

Sean Eliott's Search Graph
Sean Eliott’s Search Graph (Source: Google Trend)

His search graph is a testament to his popularity as a successful NBA player.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

Urusha Niroula
Urusha Niroula
My name is Urusha Niroula. I have been working as a writer at since September 2020. I have always had a great fondness for English writing, speaking, and reading. Furthermore, my hobbies include going on walks and short rides, watching Netflix, and sometimes sitting idly.

Related articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share article

Latest News