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Lawrence Harvey "Larry" Brown (born September 14, 1940 in Brooklynmarker, New Yorkmarker, United Statesmarker) is the head coach of the National Basketball Association's Charlotte Bobcats.

He has been a college and professional basketball coach since 1975. He has won over 1,000 professional games in the ABA and the NBA and is the only coach in NBA history to lead seven different teams to the playoffs. He is also the only person ever to coach two NBA franchises in the same season (San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers during the 1992-93 NBA season). He is 1,285–853 in his career. He is also the only coach in history to win both an NCAA National Championship (Kansas 1988) and an NBA Championship (Detroit 2004).

Brown was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Famemarker as a coach on September 27, 2002 and is widely considered one of the greatest coaches in basketball history.


Brown, a point guard, attended Long Beach High Schoolmarker and then played at the University of North Carolinamarker under Frank McGuire and the legendary coach Dean Smith after playing high school basketball in New Yorkmarker. A stellar player for the Tar Heels in the early 1960s, Brown was considered too small to play in the NBA and so began his professional career with the NABL's Akron Wingfoots, where he played for two years (1964–65). During that time Brown was selected for the 1964 Summer Olympics team while leading the Wingfoots to the 1964 AAU National Championship.

After a brief stint as an assistant coach at North Carolina, Brown joined the upstart American Basketball Association, playing with the New Orleans Buccaneers (1967–68), Oakland Oaks (1968–69), Washington Caps (1969–70), Virginia Squires (1970–71), and Denver Rockets (1971–72). Brown was named MVP of the ABA's first All-Star Game in 1968, and was named to the All-ABA Second Team the same year. Brown led the ABA in assists per game during the league's first three seasons, and when he ended his playing career, Brown was the ABA's all-time assist leader. His total of 2509 assists places him 7th on the ABA's career list, and he holds the ABA record for assists in a game with 23.

As a coach

Brown's first head coaching job was at Davidson College in North Carolina. Unfortunately for Wildcat fans, it would only last during the summer offseason and he never coached a game. That one month experience would be a harbinger to Brown's nomadic coaching career.

Brown moved on to the ABA and coached with the Carolina Cougars and then the Denver Rockets, who later became the NBA's Denver Nuggets in 1976, for three and a half seasons from 1975 to 1979. He then moved on to coach for UCLA (1979–1981), leading his freshman-dominated 1979–80 team to the NCAA title game before falling to Louisville, 59–54. However, that appearance was later vacated by the NCAA after two players were found to be ineligible—one of the few times a Final Four squad has had its record vacated.

After two years with the NBA's New Jersey Nets, Brown began his tenure at the University of Kansasmarker (1983-1988). There he was named "Coach of the Year" for the NCAA in 1988 and "Coach of the Year" for the Big Eight Conference in 1986. Kansas finished first in the Big Eight in 1986, and second in 1984, 1985, and 1987. In 1988, Kansas got off to a mediocre 12–8 start, including 1–4 in the Big 8, and the end of the Jayhawks' 55-game homecourt winning streak in Allen Fieldhousemarker. Ultimately, behind the high-scoring of Danny Manning, KU finished 27–11 and won the the national championship in 1988, defeating favored conference rival Oklahomamarker 83–79 in the final. Upon leaving Kansas, Brown had five NCAA Tournament appearances, three Sweet 16 appearances, and two trips to the Final Four. As a collegiate coach, he had a cumulative coaching record of 177–61 (.744) in seven seasons, including a 135–44 (.754) record at Kansas. However, he left under a cloud, as NCAA sanctions were levied against Kansas in the 1988–1989 season as a result of recruiting violations that took place during Brown's tenure. Among them, Kansas was banned from the 1989 NCAA Tournament—the only time a defending champion has been banned from defending its title.

Brown moved back to the NBA after his time in Kansas, taking the head coaching job with the San Antonio Spurs, and has since led the Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers (where he won the NBA coach of the year award), Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks. The coach won his first NBA Championship during his first year with the Detroit Pistons in 2004, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers four games to one in the NBA Finals. By doing so, Brown became the first man to coach teams to both NCAA and NBA titles. Brown is also the only NBA coach to take two different teams (76ers and Pistons) to the NBA Finals against the same opponent (Los Angeles Lakers in 2001 and 2004), lose the first time, and win the second.

Brown was also chosen as the head coach for the USA men's basketball team at the 2004 Summer Olympics which earned a bronze medal, a major disappointment. Brown was heavily criticized for publicly berating the players, for repeatedly criticizing the roster chosen by the player selection committee, and for insisting on a style of play which minimized the United States' advantage in athleticism.

Though he has received criticism for never staying in any one place for very long, Brown is hailed as one of basketball's greatest teachers, and is well known for turning losers into winners. The Nets and the Clippers are not only the "second teams" in their metropolitan areas, but have long been regarded as laughingstock franchises. Prior to the 2001 arrival of Jason Kidd, the Nets had made the playoffs in only 10 of their first 25 seasons in the NBA. Two of those 10 times were in 1982 and 1983, under Brown. The Clippers, in San Diego and Los Angeles combined, made the playoffs in only three of their first 27 seasons. The first two of those times were in 1992 and 1993, under Brown. Those were also the second and third of the three times the franchise had finished .500 or better since moving in 1978, after being the Buffalo Braves, until finishing over .500 and making the playoffs in 2006. The Spurs had been an NBA power for most of the 1980s, but faltered for several years after the departure of George Gervin before crashing to the worst record in the league in 1988–89, Brown's first season. In his second season, however, the Spurs made the biggest single-season improvement in NBA history at the time, leaping all the way to a division title.

In 2005, Allen Iverson said that Larry Brown was without a doubt "the best coach in the world."

Despite Brown's prowess in coaching and handling different egos and personalities, Brown has often been questioned for not playing rookies. He is also known for being hard on his point guards.

Brown has also drawn criticism for searching publicly for other jobs while still employed. This happened most recently in May 2005, when rumors surfaced that Brown would become the Cleveland Cavaliers' team president as soon as the Detroit Pistons finished their postseason. The rumor, which was not dispelled by Brown, became a major distraction as the Pistons lost to the San Antonio Spurs in seven games in the 2005 NBA Finals.

On July 19, 2005, the Pistons, displeased with Brown's public flirtations with other teams, bought out the remaining years of Brown's contract, allowing him to sign with another team. A week later, on July 28, Brown became the head coach of the New York Knicks , with a 5-year contract reportedly worth between $50 million and $60 million, making him the highest-paid coach in NBA history.

On January 13, 2006, the Knicks beat the Atlanta Hawks to give Brown his 1,000th win in the NBA, becoming only the 4th coach to do so joining the ranks of Lenny Wilkens, Don Nelson and Pat Riley. Coincidentally, all four of these coaches have served as head coach for the Knicks at one point in their career .

Brown's tenure as Knicks head coach lasted one season, as the team fired him on June 23, 2006 after he led the team to a disastrous 23-59 record. Brown's season with the Knicks was marred with public feuds with his own players, most notably point guard Stephon Marbury.

On April 29, 2008, Brown signed to become the Head Coach of the Charlotte Bobcats -- his ninth NBA coaching job. He managed to keep the relatively young team in playoff contention well into March.

Brown's name has been mentioned on two occasions for the coaching job at his alma mater—in 2000 when Bill Guthridge stepped down and in 2003 when Matt Doherty was forced out.

Coaching tree

Brown's collegiate coaching and playing stops have caused him to become intertwined in the Kansas/UNC coaching tree. Brown's college basketball coach when he played at UNC, Dean Smith, was a player under legendary Kansas basketball coach Phog Allen, who in turn was coached at Kansas by James Naismith, the inventor of basketball.

Brown then became head coach of Kansas himself and upon departure was replaced by UNC alum Roy Williams, who later returned to coach at UNC.

Coaching record


82 50 31 .610 1st in Midwest 6 2 4
Lost in Conf. Semifinals
82 48 34 .585 1st in Midwest 13 6 7
Lost in Conf. Finals
53 28 35 .528
82 44 38 .537 3rd in Atlantic 2 0 2
Lost in First Round
76 47 29 .537
82 21 61 .256 5th in Midwest
Missed Playoffs
82 56 26 .683 1st in Midwest 10 6 4
Lost in Conf. Semifinals
82 55 27 .671 1st in Midwest 4 1 3
Lost in First Round
38 21 17 .553
35 23 12 .657 5th in Pacific 5 2 3
Lost in First Round
82 41 41 .500 5th in Pacific 5 2 3
Lost in First Round
82 47 35 .573 4th in Central 16 10 6
Lost in Conf. Finals
82 52 30 .634 1st in Central 17 10 7
Lost in Conf. Finals
82 52 30 .634 2nd in Central 5 2 3
Lost in First Round
82 39 43 .476 6th in Central
Missed Playoffs
82 31 51 .378 7th in Atlantic
Missed Playoffs
50 28 22 .560 3rd in Atlantic 8 3 5
Lost in Conf. Semifinals
82 49 33 .598 3rd in Atlantic 10 5 5
Lost in Conf. Semifinals
82 56 26 .683 1st in Atlantic 23 12 11
Lost in NBA Finals
82 43 39 .524 4th in Atlantic 5 2 3
Lost in First Round
82 48 34 .585 2nd in Atlantic 12 6 6
Lost in Conf. Semifinals
82 54 28 .659 2nd in Central 23 16 7
Won NBA Championship
82 54 28 .659 1st in Central 25 15 10
Lost in NBA Finals
82 23 59 .280 5th in Atlantic
Missed Playoffs
82 35 47 .427 4th in Southeast
Missed Playoffs
1835 1020 815 .557 189 100 89



  • 1973 Carolina Cougars: ABA Eastern Division regular season champions
  • 1975 Denver Rockets: ABA Western Division regular season champions
  • 1976 Denver Rockets: ABA regular season champions (single-division)
  • 1977 Denver Nuggets: NBA Midwest Division Champions
  • 1978 Denver Nuggets: NBA Midwest Division Champions
  • 1980 UCLA: NCAA Championship Game
  • 1986 Kansas: NCAA Final Four & Big Eight Conference Champions
  • 1988 Kansas: NCAA National Champions
  • 1990 San Antonio Spurs: NBA Midwest Division Champions
  • 1991 San Antonio Spurs: NBA Midwest Division Champions
  • 1995 Indiana Pacers: NBA Central Division Champions
  • 2001 Philadelphia 76ers: NBA Eastern Conference Champions
  • 2004 Detroit Pistons: NBA Champions
  • 2005 Detroit Pistons: NBA Eastern Conference Champions

  • College: 1 National Championship, 3 Final Fours in 7 seasons
  • Pro: 1 Championship, 3 Conference Championships, 10 Division Championships, 25 Playoff appearances in 26 seasons
  • 1,000 career NBA wins

See also


  1. Lawrence "Larry" Brown
  2. PISTONS: Larry Brown Relieved of His Coaching Duties
  3. ESPN - Contract had three years, $18 million left - NBA
  4. Knicks Name Larry Brown as Head Coach
  5. List of New York Knicks coaches
  6. ESPN - Knicks fire Brown, name Thomas new coach - NBA
  7. ESPN - Brown returns to Carolina to coach Bobcats - NBA

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