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|Larry Brown should be given credit for doing more with less.|
Same goes for Larry vs. Phil in the NBA Finals. No disrespect to Phil. Winning titles with Michael and Scottie, Shaq and Kobe has given Phil a Red Auerbach-esque résumé. It's impossible to knock Phil and his triangle offense, even though it nearly cost the Lakers their playoff series against the Spurs.
But I'm more impressed that Brown has carried Allen Iverson and Rash(w)eed Wallace to separate Eastern Conference titles. Seriously, Larry vs. Phil is like comparing the parenting skills of James Evans vs. Mr. C. You know damn well that James and Florida Evans displayed more patience and more savvy raising J.J. in a Chicago housing project than Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham did rearing Richie in a Milwaukee suburb. That's what we'll be watching in the upcoming NBA Finals: "Good Times" (Pistons) vs. "Happy Days" (Lakers).
Phil has it so easy compared to Larry. Yes, I know Kobe is on trial for sexual assault, and Gary Payton can't stand Phil's strategy, and Karl Malone has fossilized into a mediocre jump shooter, and Shaq disappears from time to time. The Lakers allegedly have all sorts of problems. It's like the episode of "Happy Days" when Fonzie Evil Knievel-jumped his motorcycle over 14 garbage cans for a local TV show. It was a two-part episode and the first episode ended with Fonzie and his bike in midair over the cans. Yeah, I was nervous all week wondering what would happen to the Fonz, but I never doubted the jump would be successful. It's like Shaq with five fouls in a close game. Come on, you're surprised the refs wanted to know exactly how many times they'd blown the whistle on the Big Shaqerelli? The Lakers are predictable. Their troubles never amount to anything. Phil specializes in coaching the most talented, spoiled, two-parent, suburban basketball players in the world. Phil has all the new equipment and deluxe accommodations. He cherry-picks the best coaching jobs. He's won nine titles with four of the top 50 players in league history (although you can debate if Pippen is a top-50 player). Phil reminds me of the Chris Rock standup routine about how brothers want credit for (stuff) they're supposed to do: "I's takes care of my kids!" Well, you're supposed to. And Phil is supposed to win the title with Shaq, Kobe, Malone, Payton, the refs, David Stern and the TV networks all pulling for him. Meanwhile, Larry Brown is a social worker. He brings basketball joy where there had been none. There's not always a happy ending. Remember, James Evans died on "Good Times," and the kids never got out of the ghetto. Despite carrying a record seven different NBA franchises to the playoffs, Brown hasn't won a NBA title. This is his second trip to the Finals. Brown also lost once in the ABA Finals. He's coached in three NCAA Final Fours, appearing in two title games, and won one championship. He's in his fourth decade of coaching -- and although he's won wherever he's coached, Brown has won it all only once.
|Many believed no coach could tame Rasheed Wallace -- Larry Brown has.|