July 28, 2005
The Knicks got their man. Larry Brown is coming home to New York, New York -- sing it loud and clear, a la Frank Sinatra, baby!
Brown starred as a high school player in New York before heading down to North Carolina to play for classy coach Frank McGuire and the Tar Heels. McGuire eventually stepped aside, and Dean Smith became the head coach in Chapel Hill. Smith became Brown's mentor.
On the court, Brown was a cerebral guard, and he took that mentality to the sidelines. He's the only coach to win both an NCAA title (Kansas, 1988) and an NBA championship (Pistons, 2004).
|A New York native, Larry Brown knows all about the media circus in the Big Apple.|
There has never been any doubt about his brilliant tactical ability. Put him in a gym, give him a whistle and let him do his thing. He can orchestrate a team, let players know their strengths and weaknesses, and give them an opportunity to win.
Yes, his career has been nomadic. He has gone from one place to another, but everywhere he has landed, he has been a winner. New York will be no different.
The immediate expectations might not be that high, given the Knicks' current personnel, but Isiah Thomas will be working around the clock to change the lineup.
Will Brown be able to get along with Stephon Marbury? The coach is a master at dealing with a player's mind. He will get Marbury to play winning basketball. Elsewhere on the perimeter, Jamal Crawford also will improve under the new coach.
The addition of Quentin Richardson will help, and first-round pick Channing Frye will provide help inside. On the bench, interim coach Herb Williams remains on the staff after stepping into a difficult situation this past season.
How much will the Knicks improve? Things definitely will be more positive in the Knicks' organization next season with Brown on the sidelines. But you don't build a winner overnight, and at 64 years old, Brown probably doesn't have that much time left in his coaching career. He does have a wealth of basketball knowledge and an ability to make things happen.
Madison Square Garden will be rocking and rolling as Brown finishes his career in the Big Apple. Isiah got his man, and New York hoops fans will enjoy an exciting time.
I'm sure the multimillion-dollar contract didn't hurt Brown's decision. Whatever he is paid, he's worth it, baby!
Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question to Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.