Elson started his career at AMVJ Rotterdam at the age of twelve. Elson was a member of the Dutch Under-20 National Team. He played two seasons at Kilgore Junior College in Texas before completing his college at the University of California, Berkeley. As a senior, he helped lead the Bears to the NIT Championship.
Elson was drafted in the second round of the 1999 NBA Draft from University Of California by the Denver Nuggets, but did not commence play with them until the 2003–04 campaign.
He played four years in Spain:
1999–2001 with FC Barcelona averaging 3.4 points and 3.9 rebounds in 32 games for his first season and 6.9 points and 4.5 rebounds in 34 games for the second.
2001–02 with Pamesa Valencia averaging 4.1 points and 4.4 rebounds in 34 games.
2002–03 with Caja San Fernando averaging 9.7 point and 8.2 rebounds in 34 games.
Over his first two seasons with Denver, he averaged 3.6 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. In 2005–06, his third season with the Nuggets, Elson played in 72 games, starting in 54 games. He averaged 21.9 minutes, 4.9 points (on 53.2% shooting) and 4.7 rebounds per game.
In July 2006 Elson signed a contract with the San Antonio Spurs. Elson won his first NBA Championship in 2007 after the Spurs swept the Cleveland Cavaliers. On February 21, 2008, Elson was traded by the San Antonio Spurs along with Brent Barry to the Sonics in exchange for Kurt Thomas. Elson later signed contract with the Bucks to serve as Andrew Bogut’s primary backup.
On February 18, 2010, Elson was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers along with sharpshooter Jodie Meeks in exchange for Primoz Brezec and Royal Ivey.
On September 15, 2010, Elson signed a guaranteed two-year contract with the Utah Jazz. After his contract expired, he returned to the Netherlands for treatment on his knee.
On January 27, 2012, Elson was signed by the Philadelphia 76ers to provide the team with front-court depth because of injuries at the position. He signed two 10-day contracts, then was not re-signed for a third time after Spencer Hawes returned from injury.
On March 2014, Elson’s retirement became official.