Standing at a podium in a makeshift pressroom located on the side of the Lakers practice court, Brown appeared confident and excited during his first interview as the official head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Having signed his three year, 12 million dollar contract just moments before addressing the media, Brown may not have indefinitely answered everyone’s burning questions about the Lakers’ future, but he sure said all of the right things.
After taking a year off from the game following a successful five year stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Brown returns to the game with big shoes to fill in the eyes of the fans, the media and whether they admit it or not, the Lakers players.
There’s no question that replacing a man who won 11 titles in 20 years as a head coach, including five with the Lakers franchise, is a beyond arduous task. But doing it in Los Angeles, under the biggest magnifying glass of a media in the world is a completely different story.
People need to understand that just like the Lakers lost games with Phil Jackson at the helm, they are going to lose games with Brown running the show as well. Winning and losing is an inevitable aspect of sports, and although it may tough to understand when your favorite team is known for winning championships, bumps and bruises are going to come along the way.
“In terms of replacing a legend in Phil – I’m not him,” said Brown in his introductory press conference. “I’m not going to be able to be him. I have to be who I am. I am confident, secure and happy with that. I think we’re going to be fine. ”
“I don’t know coach Jackson on a personal [level], so I can’t really say what’s the difference between us,” Brown said earlier in the conference. “I know he’s older than me and that he’s made more money than me. Other than those two things, I’m not sure. One of the things I’m looking forward to is working with this special group of core players. One goal that he and I have in common is that we want to win. Not just 50 or 60 games, but we want to win it all.”
With that being said, and the Lakers’ championship-winning core still in-tact, it’s going to fall on the Lakers players’ shoulders to buy into Brown’s system and teachings if they want to bounce back from an embarrassing finals loss and return to basketball glory.
And considering the Lakers struggles weren’t specific to one area, it is unquestionably time for a change of direction, mentality and hunger in the City of Angels; and bringing in Brown does exactly that for this team. He’s going to hold this team accountable for everything they do, and while that may push the Lakers into uncharted territories, it’s going to make them a better team.
“I gotta preach [my system], I gotta talk it and I gotta teach it,” said Brown. If they don’t buy in right away, they will. If they don’t, there’s going to be a problem, because I’m going to hold everyone accountable.”
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