Subject: The Response of a Los Angeles Lakers Fan to the Replacement of Phil Jackson, the Most Successful and Entertaining Coach in NBA History, with Mike Brown—Yeah, Mike Brown from the Cavaliers
Author: Travis Hunter with Dr. Baloncesto Puro
The Los Angeles Lakers fan, upon learning that Phil Jackson (player, coach, possessor of 13 NBA championship rings, Zen Master, warrior poet, teacher, hilarious disdainer of in-game interviews, fisherman, traveling skewerer of “cow towns” and “backwaters,” non-caller of timeouts), will be replaced by Mike Brown—yeah, LeBron’s old coach, Mike Brown—enters into a very distinct and dynamic cycle of dealing with said replacement.
The Laker fan first experiences surprise and confusion, then disapproval and anger, then acceptance and understanding. These first stages pass rapidly, before the Laker fan cycles back to recognize the many genuine reasons to be excited about the coming Mike Brown era.
Mike Brown causing confusion.
The Laker fan, who was only informed mere days previous that Mike Brown was even a serious possibility for the Lakers head coaching position, experiences surprise and confusion upon hearing that the team has chosen Brown.
The Laker fan thinks, “What?! Mike Brown?! He just popped up a couple days ago! I didn’t even expect a hiring for another couple weeks! Have we even interviewed anybody besides him and Shaw??! What happened to Adelman?! I thought Brown was going to Golden State! What the hell?!”
Brian Shaw speaks at the Lakers' championship parade in 2001.
The Laker fan quickly segues into disapproval and anger.
The Laker fan thinks, “Great, freaking LeBron’s sloppy seconds. Freaking guy who got chased out by his last superstar!! We passed over Brian Shaw for this?! Shaw is a Laker legend!!
"At least it's not Jeff Van Gundy," the Laker fan thinks, cycling quickly away from his anger and realizing the situation could be much worse.
The Laker fan regards Jeff Van Gundy as a clown, an ankle grabber, a man who whines about officials and barks “there should be a rule” added to the rulebook in response to every minute annoyance, and takes a broadcast partner’s mention of a “barbershop argument” and turns it into a rant—in the fourth quarter of a close NBA Finals game—that culminates with him looking into the camera and screaming “I’m bald!”, which Kobe Bryant already knows all too well.
The Laker fan knows Kobe was excited to have a little Van Gundy to push and drag around, whether from his ankle or otherwise.
“At least it’s not Jeff Van Gundy,” the Laker fan thinks again. He thinks, “You know, Mike Brown did win a lot of games out there in Cleveland."
The Laker fan looks up Mike Brown's career coaching record.
"Wow, he won 60-plus games twice with basically a one-man team. Not bad," the Laker fan thinks, noting Brown's .663 career winning percentage.
"And so what if he couldn't keep it going with LeBron," the Lakers fan thinks. "LeBron is kind of a weird jackass."
And though the Laker fan feels for Brian Shaw—a good, smart man who has paid his dues with the team—the Laker fan understands management's desire for a new voice after the team's capitulation to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA playoffs.
The Laker fan starts thinking more about Brown—a young, proven winner, a disciple of Greg Popovich, a preacher of defense and toughness coming to a team that sorely needs an infusion of both—and becomes excited.
"He might be exactly what we need," the Laker fan thinks. "We're gonna score our points, the talent is there on that end to get it done, for god's sake. We lost this year because we couldn't keep anybody out of the lane or get a hand in a single Dallas Maverick's face."
The Lakers fan reads comments from Mo Williams, the All-Star point guard who played for Brown in Cleveland and told the Los Angeles Times:
"He knows how to prepare veteran teams, when he's got guys up in age and needs their rest," Williams said. "And at the same time, even though you are a veteran, he still coaches you. He still teaches you… I was vocal about the departure in Cleveland because of one reason: He's a great coach."
The Laker fan embraces the hope that Brown might be the coach to lead the team to its 17th NBA championship. Though the Laker fan has 16 NBA championship banners to keep him warm at night, he desires a 17th—the number possessed by the Boston Celtics.
He desires it powerfully.
The Laker fan believes Mike Brown can get that 17th banner.