Wednesday, December 22, 2010

When you hire Brown, you know this day is coming

Larry "Next Town" Brown has never been one to stay in one place. So whether this sudden resignation from the Charlotte Bobcats was totally his idea -- and it's very hard to believe that it was -- you had to figure this day was coming.

Brown, 70, has now coached nearly a third of the NBA's 30 teams. His resume is longer than "Of Mice and Men." He's a hall of fame basketball coach and a delight to talk with for writers like me.

But he's also inherently restless -- a perfectionist who eventually wears out his employers and his players, or else vice versa. And Brown's deep insecurities always make him a threat to bolt.

As Richard Vinroot, Charlotte's former mayor and Brown's former roommate at UNC-Chapel Hill, told me about Brown long before he ever was hired in Charlotte (but shortly after things wore out in Detroit, even though Brown had gotten to two straight NBA Finals there and won one of them): "For him, life is either perfect, or he's outta there."

Life certainly wasn't perfect lately for the 9-19 Bobcats, who have not only been losing games but have been losing them by 20 or 30 points. Team owner Michael Jordan obviously was more than miffed at this development -- as majority owner, he now has a lot more skin in this game than he used to.

To be fair, this wasn't all Brown's fault (and I'd wager him resigning it wasn't completely his decision). This team is worse, talent-wise, than last season's. Brown has less to work with, but he was also getting less out of what he has.

It's not just Larry's fault, but you can't trade all the players (much as Brown and Jordan probably would like to on some days). So instead, the coach is gone -- which of course is Jordan's prerogative, but should be explained in more concrete terms by the Bobcats to their fans.

What comes next? In the short term, it's Paul Silas. The Bobcats could hardly do better for an interim coach that they announced only about three hours after announcing Brown was stepping down. Silas is a fine communicator, well-respected everywhere and happens to live in the Charlotte area.

Still, this has been an earthquake of a day in Bobcat-land -- a day that you know must come when you hire Larry Brown, but still one that will leave tremors and aftershocks for months.


Kenneth said...

If this was Michael Jordan's decision like you are hinting at. As a fan you have to give him credit for refusing to accept losing. This is not a move that Jerry Richardson would make.

Anonymous said...

Any truth Brown was fired because of his race?

Anonymous said...

Why does race have to play apart in everything? Does a record of 9 and 19 not have everything to do with needing a change. Larry Brown is well respected around the nba, but when the game has passed you by, it's time to throw in the towel and sit back and enjoy the next generation of coaches.

Anonymous said...

Any whites in top administrative positions with the Bobcats? Why not?

Anonymous said...

I have just looked at a couple of comments and I would like to chime in. As an avid sports fan and explayer, I would agree to the Fox comment but where did the guys who commented on the race and color issue crawl out from, the 50's? People like you guys is what holds this country and others back from a better world!!! Get the color/race idea out of your head and more important keep it in your mouth. We as a nation have got to quit thinking this way people of all color need to work together and become more tolerant of each other. I am a "White" man and I would not say anything like this nor stand for any person of any color to make a comment of this nature. My name is Michael Jewell, I am not hidding behind a typing pad, so get real and grow up or stay off any sites so you can try to keep people back from being better.