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Larry Brown

(1940 - )


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Larry Brown is a Jewish American basketball coach and former collegiate and professional basketball player.

Brown (born September 14, 1940) was born in Brooklyn, New York. A University of North Carolina basketball star 1961-1963, Larry Brown won an Olympic gold medal in 1964 as a member of the champion United States Basketball Team. Brown was also a member of the 1961 United States gold medal Maccabiah basketball team.

Named All-Atlantic Coast Conference in 1963 and drafted by Baltimore of the NBA, Brown opted to play for Goodyear's (Ohio) AAU team, winning the MVP Award in the 1964 Amateur Athletic Union Tournament.

Brown played five seasons in the American Basketball Association (ABA) with New Orleans, Oakland, Washington, Virginia, and Denver, averaging 11.3 points per game. He played in three All-Star Games and led the ABA in assists. He set the ABA record with 23 assists in a game and was the Most Valuable Player of the ABA All-Star Game in 1968.

In 1971, Brown turned to coaching, winning the ABA championship as head of the Carolina Cougars in his first season, and a second ABA title with the Denver Nuggets in the 1974-75 season. That year he was also named the League’s Coach of the Year, an award he would win three times in four years. He continued with the Denver franchise in 1976 when it joined the NBA, winning two Division titles in three seasons.

In 1978, Brown was named head coach at UCLA and in his first season, the Bruins were runners-up for the NCAA championship. Brown resigned following the 1979 season and was hired back in the professional league for the NBA's New Jersey Nets, a team he would lead to the playoffs in his first two seasons.

In 1984, the University of Kansas hired Brown as their head coach. The Jayhawks enjoyed a 129-44 record from 1984 to 1988, winning the NCAA Championship in 1988.

Brown returned to the NBA in 1988, coaching the San Antonio Spurs who he led to the playoffs two of three full seasons. He left the Spurs midway into the 1991-92 season, taking over the Los Angeles Clippers who ended the season in a flourish and made the playoffs. Brown resigned from the Clippers the following year with two years left on his contract and moved to the Indiana Pacers in 1993, turning them into perennial championship contenders.

On December 13, 1996, a Pacers win over the Boston Celtics gave Brown 1,000 coaching victories - 594 in the NBA, 229 in the ABA and 177 in college. In his four seasons with Indiana, Brown became the Pacers’ all-time winningest coach and led the team to the playoffs three times.

In 1997, he left the Pacers to coach the Philadelphia 76ers and led them to five playoff appearance, the first of which earned Brown the distinction of becoming the first coach in NBA history to guide six franchises into the playoffs. In 2000-2001, the 76ers went on to the NBA Finals, Brown's first trip to the finals as an NBA coach, but they were defeated by the Los Angeles Lakers. Brown was named NBA Coach of the Year.

In the 2000 Olympic Games, Brown served as an assistant coach on the gold medal Team USA and became the only U.S. male to both play and coach in the Olympics. On November 26, 2002, Brown was named as the head coach of the USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team.

In 2003, Brown left Philadelphia to coach the Detroit Pistons and led them to the 2003-2004 NBA Championship, becoming the first coach to win both a college national championship and the NBA crown. At age 62, Brown also became the oldest coach to win an NBA title.

In July 2005, Brown became the head coach of the New York Knicks and on January 13, 2006, a Knicks win over the Atlanta Hawks gave Brown his 1,000th NBA career coaching victory, becoming only the fourth coach to reach the milestone.

On April 29, 2008, Brown signed to become the head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats, but after a dismal start to the 2010-2011 season, Brown was fired.

In April 2012, Brown was named the new coach at Southern Methodist University.


Sources: International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame; NBA.com; Jews In Sports; Wikipedia

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