Mike “The Golden Arm” Brkovich, Born April 6 1958 in Windsor Ontario was one of Canada’s best basketball players of his era. After his career, he went on to become a succesful business person and fighter to help preserve Windsor’s heritage.
Brkovich was an athlete from a young age, where he attended Dougall Avenue Public School. There he played multiple sports including basketball, soccer, track and field, and volleyball. He would go on to have success as a student athlete at W.D. Lowe. It was there in his freshman year, 1973-74, that his Lowe team won the WSSA and SWOSSA Junior titles. The following year he moved up to the senior team which won three consecutive WSSA and SWOSSA titles. In 1974-75 his Lowe team reached the OFSAA quarterfinals, and in 76-76 and 76-77 they won the OFSAA All Ontario Championships. Brkovich was named First-Team All-City and Lowe’s MVP in both seasons.
After high school, he attended Michigan State University (MSU) where he would go on to play alongside Ervin “Magic” Johnson. It was as a Spartan that he earned the nickname “Golden Arm” from head coach Jud Heathcote (for his excellent perimeter shooting ability )and earned a scholarship. He played in all 27 games during his freshman 1977-78 campaign, mainly as the first guard off the bench, and won the team’s Most Improved Player award. That same year the Spartans lost to Kentucky in the Elite Age stage of the NCAA Men’s Division I tournament.
His sophomore year saw him do even better, as he joined a group of starters that included Magic Johnson, Greg Kesler, Terry Donnelly, and Jay Vincent. Brkovich’s Spartans won the 1979 Big 10 and NCAA Championships. Brkovich and Johnson joined up to guard, and ultimately beat, the legendary Larry Bird and Indiana State in the championship game.
The “Golden Arm” would go on to play for MSU for two more seasons, and co-captained the Spartans during his senior year of 1980-81. Brkovich finished his NCAA career with 730 points, a 6.6 point per game average. This included an incredible shooting success rate, as he shot 69% from the field and hit 80.5% of his free throws. He would then go on to represent Canada at the 1979 Pan Am Games in Puerto Rico, where the team finished in fourth place. There is little doubt he would have added the title of Olympian to his resume had Canada not boycotted the 1980 games in Moscow.
His Amateur success led to him being drafted by the National Basketball Association’s Milwaukee Bucks in 1981 in the 8th round with the 181st overall pick. Unfortunately he was the team’s final cut during training camp, but played professionally for the Milwaukee Flyers of the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) during the 1981-82 season. He then returned home and played for the Windsor Senior Men’s Team which played games against NCAA schools and participated in European tournaments.
Following his playing career, he became an extremely successful business person and entrepreneur. His Bachelor of Social Science in Labour Relations from Michigan State, and his Bachelor of Education from Windsor mean he has two degrees. This athlete and scholar would go on to become a Real Estate Developer with Walkerville Land and Building, and the owner of The Walkerville Brewery. He has been an integral part in Walkerville’s resurgence and has worked to preserve the character and history of the neighborhood.