Mike Brown's stepping stones to the coaching ranks
Eager to join the NBA coaching ranks, Mike Brown soon found out that getting his foot in the door involved more than just coaching basketball.
The Lakers' head coach had impressed the Denver Nuggets enough as an unpaid intern in 1992 to land a video coordinator position after graduating from the University of San Diego. But the position proved hardly glamorous for reasons beyond having to edit video deck-to-deck instead of on a computer.
"I landscaped our assistant GM's yard," Brown said, referring to Todd Eley. "I'll never forget, I had a Nissan 4x2 pickup truck. It was maroon. It was one thing to help him landscape his yard, but it was another thing finding out that 4x2 was going to be the stone-hauler.
"I did it all, trust me."
Brown told that story before the Lakers began a set of back-to-backs against the Nuggets. His recollection of his first NBA stint 19 years later revealed more of his fondness for hard work, however, than lamenting how he paid his dues.
Even before his first head coaching job, Brown said he never felt as if he was working for scraps.
"[Bickerstaff] offered me 15 grand," Brown said. 'In my head, I was like, 'Man you sucker. I got you fooled. All you had to do was offer me a couple pair of sneakers and Denver Nuggets sweatsuit.' If I had that Denver Nuggets sweatshirt and sneakers, I would've been golden, but he offered to pay me 15 grand and I thought I was rich."
This summer, Brown signed a deal to coach the Lakers for about $4.5 million a season over four years for a total of about $18 million. So it appears he has left his stone-hauling days behind.
"I can afford to pay for somebody now," Brown said.
— Mark Medina
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