A Final Salute to Coach Brown

Yesterday the Cleveland Cavaliers parted ways with head coach Mike Brown. Technically they fired him. Semantics aside, it’s an abrasive end to the most successful era the organization ever knew.

It’s difficult to dismiss 272 regular season wins, 42 playoff victories, an Eastern Conference championship and “Coach of the Year” honors in a hastily prepared post or grammatically tortured tweet – but rest assured, it has deterred few from trying.

I write this not in opposition of Brown’s demise. Mike lost his team, and the battles, then the war – leaving President Gilbert only the ill-fated prospect of sending a disgraced general to win back the favor of the now neutral James territory. Mission impossible. Cue change.

I author this instead to pay mind to the mitigating circumstances that factored into Brown’s honorable discharge. His legacy, I think, deserves better than to be abandoned to forum threads and comment queues where – “It’s about time! Mike sucks!” – suffices as the final summation of five fantastic seasons.

Brown failed to lead the Cavs to a title. The same is true for James...for now.

There exist four commonly perceived shortcomings of said former coach among wine and gold witnesses. Here I pay them no heed other than to recap 1) in-game adjustments, 2) irregular substitution patterns, 3) offensive acumen and 4) motivational prowess.

Perhaps Van Gundy and Rivers indeed bested Brown in X’s & O’s. Maybe Mike could never muster a Pacino-esque address as to tremble locker room walls. And possibly our court-martialed captain did his best thinking not during, but between battles. Certainly, these faults helped seal his fate – but other factors were afoot.

After reaching the 2007 NBA Finals, the Cavaliers – to great acclaim – bolstered Brown’s squadron with such high profile acquisitions as Mo Williams, Shaquille O’Neal and Antawn Jamison. While proving potent additions to Mike’s offensive arsenal, his new weapons were equally ineffective at warding off enemy advances. As the quality of his guard slowly deteriorated, Brown’s once-stalwart designs did less to defense the formidable and myriad offensive onslaughts first Orlando, then Boston, would level. Still other newly enlisted men, including capable Anthony Parker and athletic Jamario Moon, did little to stem the tide.

Mike also fought his Waterloo alone. We may never understand just how, or when, he lost the hearts and minds of his men, but I dare conjecture Coach Brown as incapable of such egregious folly as to warrant utter desertion in the hour of his (better, our) greatest need. As the Celtics closed ranks, the Cavaliers surrendered atop a stockpile of unspent ammunition, their spirit extinguished – an empty beacon beyond the means of one man to rekindle.

Finally, a deft nod to James who – ever unwilling to pledge lasting allegiance to his homeland – effectively left top brass little choice but to populate Brown’s barracks with veterans. Captive to The King’s “win now” credo – absent time to cultivate a young corps of recruits – Cavs commanders sought mostly seasoned soldiers. Perhaps a band of brothers, unified by years of trial and triumph, would have better served Brown than the mercenary militias he was tasked to manage.

I cannot burden Mike Brown’s mantle with the collapse of the Cavaliers. Neither do I renounce (nor did protest) the blueprint of Cleveland’s vanquished roster. And I remain steadfast in my assertion that The Chosen One – pending personal reflection – can yet make good on his promise to deliver a championship to Cleveland.

I celebrated the spoils of war in anticipation of victory. I cheered our combatants and exalted their virtues. Now, surveying the ruins, I regret nothing. With conflict comes consequence. Conquest is ever uncertain.

I invite you only to consider the full circumstance of Brown’s dismissal and implore recognition of his many achievements. No one man can lose a war. At sea, it takes a crew to hang the captain.

To Mike Brown, for all that has been won here – I thank you.

Fight on coach.


Cavs news, facts, stats, insights, updates, quips, quotes, pics, polls, links and laughs. WITNESS your Cleveland Cavaliers! Go Cavs!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: