April 06, 2017
When Brett Brown’s normal 5:15 pm pregame availability rolled around before Thursday night’s game against the Chicago Bulls, the Sixers head coach wasn’t to be found. But there was definitely a good reason for his tardiness.
Brown normally shows up at the Wells Fargo Center well before that time, but his 80-year-old parents are in town this week, working their way back up to his native Maine after spending a few winter months in Florida. And at the time that Brown normally leaves for the arena, it just so happened to be pouring in the Delaware Valley (I, for one, got soaked). Worried about their safety, Brown decided to wait out the storm, which explains his late arrival.
Bob Brown amassed 618 victories at the high school and college levels in New England — The Daily News’ Sam Donnellon wrote a terrific profile of their relationship a few years ago — so the question was asked if his son, now wrapping up his fourth season as an NBA coach, uses him as a sounding board. Not quite.
“He goes the complete other way of leaving me alone,” Brett said.
A very successful coach, Bob understands the pressures of the job in a way that many others simply can’t. That doesn’t mean he can always keep his thoughts to himself, though.
“For instance, ‘Dario’s got to get more air to his shot. He’s got to get more legs. He’s got to boost the ball up, he’s shooting darts, it’s too flat,’” Brett said, imitating Bob. “And then he’ll be so remorseful that he said it, he just wants to let me coach and leave me alone.
“He feels like there’s a lot going on here over my time here and it’s true. But I feel like when he has something, he’s usually spot-on. It’s just usually delivered very infrequently.”
(For the record, his assessment of Saric's jumper is spot-on.)
“For instance, ‘Dario’s got to get more air to his shot. He’s got to get more legs. He’s got to boost the ball up, he’s shooting darts, it’s too flat."
Brett wasn’t the only NBA head coach that Bob helped get a start in coaching. Hornets coach Steve Clifford started as a volunteer assistant for Bob at Saint Anselm College and then eventually worked on his staff at Boston University, even living with the Brown family for several years.
But despite Bob’s affinity for the NBA game, he isn’t the biggest basketball junkie in the family. That would be his wife, Bonny.
“My mom is addicted, my mom watches more than dad,” Brown said. “The best Christmas gift I give is League Pass… When you get to 80, mom is a coach’s wife. Her whole life she’s been a coach’s wife.”
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