Cannon Brown is almost ready for launch!
NBA.com: Shannon Brown, backup guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, has the respect and admiration of both a reigning king and The Leader of the Free World.
Scene: The Cleveland Cavaliers’ locker room a couple of weeks ago. LeBron James, The King to whom we referred, was assessing the field in this year’s Slam Dunk Contest at NBA All-Star Weekend, but had blanked on one of the contestants.
“Do I have odds on who’s going to win? I dunno. Who’s the fourth participant again?” James asked. Told that it was Brown, the Cavaliers’ star perked up. “Wow. I like Shannon. I like Shannon. He’s good. We’ll see.”
Scene: The White House a few days later. During a private ceremony to commemorate the Lakers’ NBA championship last June, the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. shook Brown’s hand and wished him luck in the dunk contest Feb. 13. Then, at a public version not long after that was covered by global media, President Obama did it again.
Brown’s reaction? Startled by the former, humbled by the latter.
“When he did that, I didn’t know what to do, man,” Brown told reporters. “I was like, ‘This dunk contest needs to hurry up.’ I got kind of juiced. I need to be out there now.”
Perhaps in honor of the nation’s First Hoops Fan, Brown put on a little dunk showcase of his own the next night against the Wizards, right there in Washington. All in the second quarter of L.A.’s 115-103 victory, he threw down an alley-oop feed from Lamar Odom, finished a fast-break with a one-handed jam, then used two hands for a slam-back of Andrew Bynum’s missed free throw.
Coincidentally, when the Lakers packed for their extended eight-game road trip and coach Phil Jackson dispensed this year’s stack of books for to his players, the title he gifted to Brown was a copy of Obama’s, Dreams From My Father.