As announced yesterday Los Angeles Lakers reserve guard Shannon Brown has decided to opt out of his contract and test the free agency waters. While Brown has stated that he is not against a return to the Lakers, it appears as if his time in Hollywood may be at an end. If that is indeed the case the high-flying guard has certainly made an unexpected impact on the team and the city.
Los Angeles acquired Brown in a trade with the Charlotte Bobcats back in February of 2009. Brown was an afterthought in the trade, nothing but a throw in to accommodate the salary structures. The headlines declared that the Lakers were trading Vladimir Radmanovic for Adam Morrison, with a small disclaimer adding that Brown was also headed to Los Angeles.
Despite being overlooked by Charlotte and most of the league, Brown began to thrive in Los Angeles. While he wasn’t the type of player that was going to score 25 points every night he accompanied the rest of the Los Angeles roster beautifully. He became one of the key sparks off the bench, and provided energy and excitement for the crowd. He became known for his thunderous dunks and seemingly unreal take-off points. But Brown ultimately developed into a crucial role player that helped lead the Lakers to back to back championships in 2009 and 2010.
Perhaps the most impressive stretch from Brown came in February in the 2009-10 season when starting guard Kobe Bryant was forced to sit several games out do to an array of injuries. Brown stepped in and Los Angeles didn’t miss a beat. In fact, during the five games that Bryant missed Brown helped lead the Lakers to a 4-1 record, notching double digit points in three of the five games. The most impressive was a career high 27 points against Golden State, leading the Lakers to a win over the Warriors.
As Shannon Brown prepares to move on in his basketball career it’s safe to say he won’t be remembered along with Bryant, Jerry West or other legendary Lakers. But Brown was a very complimentary player that helped the team win two consecutive titles. While most fans will remember his rim-rocking dunks, Brown developed into much more than a highlight. While he certainly struggled at times, Brown turned himself from an afterthought to a solid NBA player on two championship teams. And for that he will always be remembered in Los Angeles.