Friday, April 30, 2010

The tortured soul of Larry Brown

I didn't attend Larry Brown's end-of-season news conference Friday, but I'm going to try and read the tea leaves, anyway.

Brown is going home to Philadelphia now to talk with his wife, Shelly, and his two teenagers (ages 13 and 15) about whether he should move back to Philly (presumably to retire or else take a front-office job with the 76ers) or stay in Charlotte to coach the Bobcats for at least another season.

OK, a couple of points:

1) When you were 13 or 15 years old, did you want your Dad around all the time?

2) Why won't Shelly, his wife, move here? This is intriguing, but apparently not an option. The Browns want to keep the kids in schools where they are happy and they have friends. I understand that, and certainly they're all used to the situation, given that when Larry came here the kids were 11 and 13 and only he moved to Charlotte. Shelly gave the go-ahead for that move originally, but it took some doing -- I remember Michael Jordan saying Shelly was a tougher negotiator at the time than Larry was.

3) Here was the most telling thing Brown said about this dilemma Friday:
"I have a great job here. I love Charlotte, I love working for Michael, I love coaching. I don’t think there are many places where I’ve been as comfortable, and I’ve been in some pretty special situations.

"But I have a 13-year-old daughter and a 15-year-old son and the time I’m away from them, I can’t get that back. I’ll be 70 [on his next birthday]. I don’t feel that way, unless I look in the mirror. But I’ve got to go home and talk to my wife. I love her and I love my kids and I don’t want them growing up and all of a sudden I blink and I’ve missed that. It’s just something I’ll have to address and try to figure out."

So Larry's soul is tortured once again. He's been that way, off and on, for large segments of his life. But he's also a basketball genius, which is why everyone puts up with his "To be or not to be" imitation of Hamlet every couple of years.

My guess? Brown ultimately gets it worked out on the homefront. And he stays in Charlotte. Maybe only for one more year, maybe for two to fulfill the original contract he signed with Jordan.

That's just my gut reaction, after watching Brown interact with Jordan and other Bobcat employees Wednesday at the golf tournament at Quail Hollow. You could see the affection there. Brown loves what he's doing and who he's working for. And Shelly knew what he did when she married him -- how a lot of his life is defined by basketball, and coaching. I think she and Larry will work out a compromise, and he'll stay -- at least for one more year.

But I'm certainly not going to bet the house on that. Let's remember, this is Larry Brown. He's so fascinating in large part because he's so unpredictable. "Where You Gonna Be Next Year, Larry?" was once the title of a Sports Illustrated feature on Brown.

And that was in 1984.


Anonymous said...

highly doubt that larry brown is as mad with grief/suicidal as hamlet, but nice try.

Anonymous said...

My observations on your observations:

1) I don't think anyone has considered that. Most teenagers are happy to be away from the un-coolness of the parents. But I'm not sure that would apply to a parent living in another city. Definitely something to think about.

2) I'm holding out hope she can be convinced. As for the kids, the USA is full of people who had to move when they were teenagers (I am among them), and for the vast majority, the move did not ruin their lives. Most of the teens boldly predict such ruination before and during the move, but their predictions usually end up being unfounded. I hope that is not the non-negotiable item preventing them from moving here.

3) Anyone who is a parent and/or spouse should really feel for him. And wouldn't you rather have a coach that is a devoted family man that is deeply troubled by this conflict - as opposed to, say, someone who takes advantage of the distance to engage in immoral activites? (Not that I'm thinking of anyone in particular, especially not any golfers who live in Florida.)

digal704 said...

Never thought I would say this, I agree with you. I don't understand why his family isn't here. Suffice to say our city isn't cosmopolitan enough. That's all I can come up with because as parents kids do and go where parents say. It's not my business what their reasoning is I'm just saying. If they won't come here I really understand him wanting to be there with them. However, I would certainly reevaluate my marriage if it were me. Unless he was in the military in combat, nothing would keep me and our children away from my husband. Nothing.

Anonymous said...

This article and issue makes Larry look marginally disfuntional and an idiot....if he really wanted to be with his family he would be....with the $$ he made with Detroit and NY ALONE, he can afford to live however and wherever he wants.....and he know that!!

Larry, put away your narcissistic ans sociopathic charade, and just keep your bizzare and attention-seeking comments....which you don't believe youself.

Sandy said...

This must be the worst article I ever read on the Bobcats. If I didn't find it annoying, I wouldn't bother to comment on it...

1. First, Larry Brown talked about missing being part of his children's growing up. If you can't sympathize with him on this, Scott, I guess you're not a parent, and you'd better not talk about stuff that's beyond your comprehension.
Second, normal kids want some autonomy, they don't want their parents around ALL THE TIME. But they are not hateful, they just want their space, not separation from their parents MOST OF THE TIME. Again, you seem to talk about stuff you don't have really understand.

2. Scott, have you considered taking a job with the National Enquirer? This is tabloid writing, speculating on his wife's wishes (and it spills into your point 3. too; too juicy to let go of it). Allow LB to have his privacy, don't comment on his family.

3. SO worthless. Larry Brown didn't decide yet where he's gonna be next year, you can't know more about it than he does, and that's all that can really be said at this time.

To contrast: Rick Bonnell gave us a piece of clean reporting on coach Brown's latest statements on this issue, and that's really all we needed at this time on it.
But then came Scott...

Sandy said...

Sorry for the typo.
The word "have" in the last sentence of my point 1 should've been deleted.

MichaelProcton said...

J, if you're going to talk about immoral activities, the first place to look is the owner of the franchise itself.

Anonymous said...

I quit coaching HIGH SCHOOL sports so I could be there to see my own kids play. Otherwise, I would have missed it all (missed coaching but no regrets whatsoever). Pro basketball is an exponentially bigger time commitment and I could see him cashing in once and for all.

Anonymous said...

Great values, Scott! I'll be sure to remind my 15 and 12 year olds the next time I have to go on a short business trip to suck it up, that they're old enough to endure an extended absence from dad...just like Larry Brown does! Why don't you stick to substandard reporting, and abandon the prognosticating,

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Despite Brown's prowess in coaching and handling different egos and personalities, Brown has often been questioned for not playing rookies.

function rooms melbourne said...

Highly doubt that Larry brown is as mad with grief/suicidal as hamlet, but nice try.