Monthly Archives: May 2011

Mike Brown Is Lakers’ New Truth?

Rumors typically exceed truth. Such has been the case in the Lakers’ search for a new head coach.

First it was Rick Adelman. Then it was Mike Dunleavy and Jeff Van Gundy. Heck, even Jerry Sloan’s name was thrown around as a possibility. Then, in today’s L.A. Times, team president Jim Buss was quoted saying the team was “very close” to hiring its next coach.

Who would it be? Each new rumor was more circumspect than the last. And each, at their best, was a re-tread.

Well what should come across ESPN today? The Lakers have offered a four-year, $18.25 million contract to Mike Brown.

Wait. What?

Well as it turns out, Brown, who was last seen coaching the Cleveland LeBrons to an early exit from the 2009-’10 Eastern Conference playoffs, has accepted the Buss family’s offer and will indeed become the 22nd coach in the franchise’s history.

Of all the options the Lakers had — and they had plenty — they chose a coach who at his best was a jester in the court of the King. A pawn whose sole responsibility was protect the team’s (and perhaps the league’s) marquee chess piece.

So what does anyone think will happen when he’s given psuedo-command of team that features yet another self-centered ego-maniac who doesn’t really play well with others?

If you answered anything along the lines of “wilt under the harsh spotlight afforded to Kobe Bryant” then you’re probably right. I mean, if Brown couldn’t win an NBA title with the league’s best player and a decent supporting cast how can he possibly be expected to win with an aging superstar and the league’s best supporting cast?

Is it even reasonable to expect anything more than another second-round sweep next season? Not with Mike Brown.

I’m not advocating for Adelman, Dunleavy or Van Gundy. Nor am I suggesting Sloan would have been the right fit (although his style and substance is worthy of high praise).

They did, however, have the opportunity to hire the next great NBA coach, Brian Shaw, who had seemed to be the heir-apparent to Phil Jackson. But alas, the Buss family never gave Shaw more the a cursory look.

Instead, they’ve settled on a coach with about half-as-much upside as Shaw, and twice the baggage.

Mike Brown? That’s truth circumventing rumor. And not in a good way.

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Filed under Basketball, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA

My First Send-Off

It was a moment that had to come — at some point.

The send-off. The single most confrontational moment in soccer. The moment where the referee (in this case, me) is forced to take action against and remove one of the game’s participants.

As it happened, I had to remove the coach (of what I’ll call the Red Team) after one of my assistants reported that he had used offensive, insulting or abusive language. That is in clear violation of Law 12, and an act made even more heinous due to his choice to do so in the presence of his youth players.

Now, I was told about what the coach had said immediately following the conclusion of the U-19 match. My assistant reported what he had heard and I had to make a decision — let it slide or confront the coach. So after a little prodding, I called the coach over and told him I had to send him off.

Obviously, he wasn’t happy. Not only had his team lost, 4-1, to a team they had already defeated several times this season, but he was fat, arrogant and ugly. Needless to say, he had plenty of reasons to be upset.

As for my performance and the match… I let the teams play (only calling a two first-half fouls) until the second half when things became more contentious. I issued a yellow card to Red #7 for a reckless slide tackle in the 67th minute, and I also disallowed a goal for the Red Team after my senior assistant flagged the team for being offside.

Clearly, he had ammunition in his gun but that does not excuse his aim or the fact that he pulled the trigger. All metaphors aside, no coach should ever be excused for such boorish behavior.

In the hours since I’ve been trying not to think too much about the way I handled the confrontation. I was professional and allowed him to say his peace without a snide retort — which I almost certainly could have done.

I will, however, learn from the experience. I’ll attempt to nip argumentative coaches before they have a chance to get to bloom and limit the amount of noise coming from the bench.

One thing is certain, though: I will ever, ever allow a coach to berate me, my assistants or the other team in such a manner.

So am I glad I had to experience my first send off? Not necessarily. But he gave me no choice.

What did he say?

And I quote, “Fuck that guy. He’s an idiot.”

Now, what would you have done?

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Filed under Referee, Soccer