Michael Jordan and Larry Brown share a laugh Wednesday at the Quail Hollow Championship pro-am. Jordan played; Brown watched.
I am at the Quail Hollow Championship today, and was following the Michael Jordan-Fred Couples pairing on the ninth tee when things started to get interesting.
Out of the gallery bounded Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown (who originally was a candidate to play in the pro-am, but ended up not doing so). Brown hugged everybody in the group -- it also includes Quail Hollow president Johny Harris -- and then started following them inside the ropes.
"Grab a club and let's go!" Jordan told Brown. Brown said no thanks, he was just going to watch, and then he did exactly that. Brown walked behind Jordan and Couples with Bobcats president Fred Whitfield and assistant coach Dave Hanners, applauding occasionally (especially when Jordan hit a good one).
This, of course, sets off a ruckus among the fans. Some variation of "Stay in Charlotte, Larry!" and "Don't leave, Larry!" was repeated dozens of times over the next few holes. Each time, Brown would smile, wave -- and say absolutely nothing.
I got the feeling Brown was still in the "hemming-and-hawing" stage -- he certainly wasn't telling fans "Okay, I'll stay." He did sign a lot of autographs, though, and was as gracious as he could be without answering questions.
I cornered him at one point and asked if I could talk to him. He nodded, but then said he wanted to watch Jordan play the round first and walked away. I am guessing Brown will end up talking to a cluster of reporters in about an hour or two at the 18th green -- word of his impromptu visit to the course is starting to spread.
Brown apparently plans to go home to Philadelphia Thursday and have a talk with his wife (and maybe 76ers officials??) about whether he's going to coach in Charlotte, end up as president of the Philadelphia franchise, do something else or retire entirely.
There was one funny moment, too, when a couple of teenagers saw Brown up close.
"Next year we'll win it all!" the first teenager told the coach. Brown had no response.
"Next year, we'll win a game in the playoffs," the other said sarcastically.