HOMECOMING: BROWN RETURNS TO MSG • Latino Sports

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HOMECOMING: BROWN RETURNS TO MSG

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So much for a dream job, Larry Brown's coaching stint in New York last only one season. The former Knicks head coach returned to the Garden this week for the first time since he was let go by the franchise.

NEW YORK — Larry Brown, the much traveled but highly respected basketball coach, returned to Madison Square Garden, on Wednesday evening as coach of the visiting Charlotte Bobcats.
 
It was his first visit since being discharged from his post as Knicks coach in June 2006. His presence brought back memories of the controversies generated during his tenure as coach of the Knicks during the 2005-6 season. The controversies and the poor won/loss record of the New York franchise did not end with Brown's departure from the Knicks. The lack of success on the court and the negative publicity of the off the court activities of members of the organization increased with the presence of Isiah Thomas as both coach and president of the team. Brown, a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, is the only basketball coach to lead his teams to both an NBA and NCAA title.
 
Brown, known for being outspoken and opinionated, spoke only positive words about his tenure with the Knicks, his differences with Stephon Marbury, and the termination of his position as coach of the Knicks. The Brooklyn native spoke fondly of his roots in the area during a pre-game press conference at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday afternoon, "I love New York. I love this place [MSG}. It's good to be back."  Brown was very regretful over the poor record of the Knicks during his season as coach, "We didn't win a lot of games with me as coach here. It's something I think about a lot. The people here deserve the best. They have a great tradition. They have great fans. That's why I wanted to be part of it…I want the Knicks to do well.Donnie [Walsh] and I have a long relationship."
 
The working relationship between Brown and Walsh goes back more than 30 years. Brown hired Walsh to be an assistant coach with him in 1977 when Brown was head coach of the Denver Nuggets. Walsh, as head of the Indiana Pacers, employed Brown as head coach for four seasons in the mid-1990's.
 
The difficulties between Brown and Stephon Marbury two years ago seemed to be forgotten by the Charlotte coach. He stated, "Steph was not a problem for me." Brown predicted an unlikely and smooth ending for Marbiry's present predicament, "I hope they work it out for Stephon., and I'm sure they will. I know Donnie and Mike [D'Antoni], and I'm sure they'll work what's best for Steph and the organization."
 
The crowd reaction to brown's appearance was not quite what he expected. Brown predicted, "The fans were always fair to me. I'm sure they will be tonight." His names was greeted by applause from the minority of those present, but cheers were drowned out by the booing. One member of the Charlotte organization was greeted by a rousing standing ovation. Michael Jordan, part of the Bobcats ownership group, was remembered with great respect gratitude for his unparalleled play.
 
Brown's return was a great media event. The soap opera story of Marbury was largely forgotten for the evening. The exciting and tightly contested basketball game ended with a 101-98 Knick victory. The fans were not as enthusiastic as the media by Brown's return. Nearly two thousand seats were unoccupied during the game. The win and the road win on Friday at Washington, D.C. may lead to an enthusiativ full house when the Knicks return to the garden on Sunday afternoon to face Utah.

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