With all of the flak that new Lakers coach Mike Brown has gotten over the past few days, Chris Dufresne of the LA Times took time to call up former colleagues and players for thoughts and opinions on the polarizing coach for the purple and gold.
“I did talk to him the other day,” said Geoff Probst, Brown’s teammate and roommate at the University of San Diego. “I said, ‘You do realize this is the Lakers? This is The Show. You’re going to be standing next to Jack Nicholson.’ [Mike Brown] said, ‘I’m ready.'”
In response to critics who believe that Brown may not be able to handle the high drama that comes with coaching Kobe Bryant and the Lake Show, close colleagues of Brown contend that it is simply not the case.
Those who know Brown say he is not a pushover and will not be intimidated. He is not a finger-pointer or an excuse-maker. Neither is he a caretaker.
“This guy, he never levitates”, Denver Nuggets GM Bernie Bickerstaff said, “His feet are on the ground, he never forgets where he came from. He has not been caught up in the success he has had. He is just so well rounded.”
What may be Brown’s greatest flaw is that little is known about the coach other than his brief yet successful coaching job with LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Still though, longtime associates of Brown will tell you that he’s just as worthy a successor to Phil Jackson as anyone. “He’s willing to step up and take the heat. He doesn’t try to send it to anyone else.” Said Bickerstaff
Probst, the college roommate, says the Lakers are “getting a bulldog in terms of a competitor. You’re not going to find, in terms of character, a better quality of man.”
Mike Brown comes to the Lakers after compiling a 272-138 record in five years with the Cleveland Cavaliers, taking them to the NBA Finals in 2007. Brown also won an NBA title as an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs in 2003.