What Can “Brown” Do For You?
In what many women would consider a sign of marriage doom, I scheduled my honeymoon around the Lakers playoffs. My wife and I were married on June 9 almost 10 years ago, right in the warm, gooey center of the Lakers last 3-peat (I don’t care, I’m not paying Riley any royalties for that usage). We ended up in Aruba where I was promised the resort had “American TV;” they did. There were a few doctor’s kids there from Philly. Lakers had lost their only game of the entire playoffs to Iverson’s Sixers, so these “ne’er do poor” punks were full of bravado. That was Sunday. Their vacation and title hopes were done by Friday.
My point is, I’m a feverish Lakers fan. Not having Lakers basketball in late May, much less June, is disconcerting. The Lakers have been in the finals in seven of the last 10 years, so imagine my dismay when the team quit against what seemed to be a “soft” Mav’s team just 17 days ago. I’ve been relegated to feigning interest in “Real Housewives” episodes ’cause I can’t bear to devote three hours to the likes of Miami or Dallas (NBA Teams, not Housewives). The inevitable finals match-up of disgusting, apostate star and a reprehensible owner may be good TV, but it’s gut-wrenching to me to know that one of those two “personalities” will have a championship.
Today, Laker nation was hit with another blow. Mike Brown was announced as the new Lakers coach. Mike Brown… the name an amalgamation of two of the most nondescript names in America. He’s a veritable ”Joe Smith,” even though the Lakers already have one of those.
If you don’t follow basketball very closely, that name means nothing to you. If you do follow basketball closely, then your response to the Jim Buss hiring of Mike Brown is likely “who?” Brown is lauded for his “definitive minded” teams, but Brown is also a proven loser. He’s lost at the highest levels; his Cavaliers were swept by the Spurs in the 1997 NBA Finals. He lost his best player, Lebron James, who was ostensibly cavalier in the Cavalier’s ousting in the 2010 playoffs. That loss led to the loss of his job.
What’s the worst thing about the Brown hiring? Inevitably, it’s the terrible UPS puns, “What Can Brown Do For You?” Beyond that, it’s the elephant on the court that only a few news agencies seem to acknowledge. Kobe Bryant, by all reports, hasn’t had any input on the situation. Jerry Buss’s kid can think what he wants, but this is Kobe’s team. If Kobe doesn’t endorse the offering, then Mike Brown doesn’t stand a chance. Buss’s attempt to put his stamp on the Laker organization may backfire; his stamp may be a parcel post delivery of this team into turmoil. When Al Davis when sideways on Marcus Allen decades ago, his Raiders followed suit.
Also, L.A. is known for “Showtime” and “The Lake Show”. I don’t think 72-69 wins are going to appease a triple-digit paying Staples Center public. Brown better concentrate on offense. I don’t think he’ll have a problem in that regard. This Lakers team has veteran offensive weapons (Kobe, Pau, Lamar) and explosive youth (Andrew Bynum, Shannon Brown). Scoring should be easier than sex with a hooker.
But Brown is a “ra-ra” guy. Coming from a climate where the ex-head coach was visibly stoic in adversity, Brown’s animations may not be welcome in a Lakers huddle. Time will tell, but for my money, Brown’s first worst move was not reaching out to Kobe before he took the job. An endorsement from the team’s true leader and rightful league MVP (OK, maybe not this year) would go far to ease the anxiety of this Lakers fan.
Do what you will Mike Brown and Jim Buss. Just know that 1) This hire may be a bigger gamble than Jerry Buss driving drunk the wrong way with a 23-year-old passenger (read: escort) and 2) This Lakers fan’s fever might break if you screw it up too much… afterall, I may have some “Royals” to root for right here in Orange County, and I’m not talking about William and Kate.