Mike Brown has been around the NBA for a very long time. He would get his start as an unpaid video intern with the Denver Nuggets and would later be hired as a scout and video coordinator. He would spend five seasons with the team.
After the 1996 season, he would make a transition into coaching as the Washington Wizards (Bullets) hired him as an assistant coach as a part of Bernie Bickerstaff’s staff in the 1997 season. The general manager at the time was Wizards/Bullets legend, Wes Unseld. Brown would spend two seasons under Bickerstaff before transitioning again as he accepted a position with the San Antonio Spurs in 2000, under Gregg Popovich. Under the guidance of Popovich, he was a to win a championship in 2003. This would be Tim Duncan and David Robinson’s second championship together. After game six against the New Jersey Nets (Brooklyn Nets now), announced that he was retiring from the game of basketball.
Mike Brown would also make his exit as an assistant coach and joined the Indiana Pacers as an assistant coach under as a part of Rick Carlisle’s staff. The Pacers would go 61-21 that season finishing 1st in the Eastern Conference Central Division. Brown would spend two more seasons under Carlisle before getting his first opportunity to be a head coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
During his time in Cleveland, Brown had the opportunity to coach an upcoming superstar in the making by the name of LeBron James. In 2007, James and Brown helped lead the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals against Brown’s mentor Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan. The Cavaliers would fall to the Spurs in four games. Two years later Brown would win the Coach of the year award as coached the Cavaliers to a 66–16 record.
In 2010, after the Boston Celtics eliminated the Cavaliers, LeBron James decided to take his talents to South Beach. It would also be Brown’s last season with the Cavaliers as they fired him on fire on May 24, 2010. Brown, after he was let go, decided to accept an assistant coach on his son’s team at Westlake Lee Burneson Middle School in Ohio.
He wasn’t assistant for long; the Los Angeles Lakers came calling and hired Brown as their head coach in 2011. Brown didn’t last a more than a season with the Lakers and was let go in 2012. Bernie Bickerstaff would be named the interim coach before the Lakers hired Mike D’Antoni.
Cleveland brought Brown back to replace Byron Scott. Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert would later say letting Brown go the first time was a mistake. Gilbert would fire Brown again on May 12, 2014, after posting a losing record for the Cavaliers.
Two years later, the Golden State Warriors hired Brown as an assistant coach to replace Luke Walton, who departed to take the head coaching job in Brown’s old stomping grounds in Los Angeles with the Lakers. Brown would help go on to win back to back championships with the Warriors. He would even lead the Warriors to a 12-0 record in the postseason, while Kerr was dealing with a back injury.
During his coaching career, Brown has had the opportunity to coach possibly 17 Hall of Famers Reggie Millar, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, David Robinson, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, LeBron James, Ben Wallace, Chris Webber, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, and DeMarcus Cousins.
Earlier this season Mike Brown share what it is coaching all of these special players. During his time in the NBA:
“Obviously, it was great to coach them. Anytime you get a chance to be around those caliber players it is special. Not just the way they play the game, but how they feel, their intelligence, and with all them their character. All that stuff rubbed off on their teammates that is why they all had a lot of individual success and team success because of their dynamic personalities,“ Brown told me.
“A lot of people think they walk out of the phone booth, and they go perform, but they don’t understand the actual work that these guys put in. They all have the understanding that in order to be great you have to work harder than everybody else and all of those guys is a testament to that.“