Riordan at 70: Alton Byrd ’75

Michael Gray ’20, Opinion Editor

Alton Byrd ’75 was one of the greatest basketball players to grace Riordan’s halls. At Riordan, Byrd was the captain of the basketball team and a member of both the First Team All-WCAL and First-Team All-City. After his graduation, Byrd went on to play basketball at Columbia University where he set a school record for career assists and assists in one season.

Soon after he left Columbia, Byrd was drafted briefly by the Boston Celtics where a leg injury rendered him unable to play in the regular season. Byrd was undeterred, however, and in the very same year began to play in the British Basketball League as a part of Crystal Palace. Over the course of his nearly two decade long career in the BBL, Byrd became a competitor as a part of Britain’s national and Olympic teams after he gained dual- citizenship, as well as becoming a 5x Scottish League Champion.

In reflecting on the successful rebound of his basketball career, Byrd stated, “Riordan taught me not to give in. The truth of the matter is that Riordan taught me not to quit, that no matter the injury, you have got to keep on working.”

Following his success in the BBL, Byrd began a lengthy career in sports administration. Currently, he is the Vice President of Business Operations for the Long Island Nets, an NBA G-League team of which Byrd was a founding member.

As for the role Riordan played in his life, Byrd stated, “The school has given me a bunch of information and a bunch of education, and it has inspired me to be inventive—what I would call ‘entrepreneurial.’ At Riordan, I realized that at the end of the day, people are the same… Riordan gave me an education on how to interact with people… I learned how to interact with people of different cultures and religions, and that’s the greatest thing Riordan taught me.”

One of the most outstanding Riordan graduates of the 70s, Alton Byrd remains one of Riordan’s most successful athletes, a tradition that will be kept alive far into the future.