Brisker with Toledo c. 1967
|Born||June 15, 1947|
|Died||Disappeared c. April 1978 (aged 30); Declared legally dead in May 1985|
|Listed height||6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)|
|Listed weight||210 lb (95 kg)|
|High school||Hamtramck (Hamtramck, Michigan)|
|Position||Forward / Guard|
|Number||23, 45, 40, 42|
|1975||Cherry Hill Rookies|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career ABA and NBA statistics|
|Points||6,847 (20.7 ppg)|
|Rebounds||2,152 (6.5 rpg)|
|Assists||787 (2.4 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
A 6'5" forward/guard who played for the Toledo Rockets basketball team of the University of Toledo, Brisker played six seasons in the ABA and NBA as a member of the Pittsburgh Pipers (1969–1970), Pittsburgh Condors (1970–1972) and Seattle SuperSonics (1972–1975). He averaged 20.7 points per game over the course of his ABA/NBA career (26.1 points per game in the ABA, and 11.9 points per game in the NBA).
Brisker developed a reputation as one of the most volatile players in basketball. According to his Condors teammate Charlie Williams, "He was an excellent player, but say something wrong to the guy and you had this feeling he would reach into his bag, take out a gun and shoot you." He was ejected so often for fighting that he was nicknamed "the heavyweight champion of the ABA." The Condors made much of Brisker's reputation as an enforcer; their media guide portrayed him wearing a pair of six-shooters.
In a 1971 game against the Denver Rockets, Brisker was ejected two minutes into the game for an elbow on the Rockets' Art Becker. Brisker charged back onto the court three times in order to go after Becker. A group of police officers threatened to arrest Brisker and finally persuaded him to return to the locker room.
It is unknown what happened to Brisker. His former SuperSonics teammates have speculated that he was killed while fighting as a mercenary or shot in an argument with Ugandan royalty. He was declared legally dead in May 1985 by the medical examiner of King County for the purpose of settling his estate. However, the State Department could not confirm that Brisker had travelled to Africa; a spokesperson stated that "essentially, we don't consider him dead."
- "Bar Chat". Stocks and News. June 6, 2003.
- Benjamin, Josh (30 September 2011). "The Most Legendary Personalities in ABA History". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
- Jenks, Jayson (May 11, 2017). "'Is John really dead?': The mysterious disappearance of John Brisker, the Sonics legend who never was". The Seattle Times. Retrieved October 4, 2020.
- Jamieson, Robert L. (2004-07-01). "Former Sonic forever shrouded in mystery". Seattlepi.com. Retrieved 2012-01-30.