Larry Brown’s resume is extensive. Brown is the only coach in basketball history to win both an NCAA national championship and an NBA title.
A Brooklyn, New York native, Brown, 79, holds a 1,275-965 coaching record in both the NBA and ABA and is the only coach in NBA history to lead eight teams to the playoffs.
Apparently all weren’t pleased with Brown as a coach. Ask Stephon Marbury.
A two-time NBA All-Star, Marbury, 43, played 12 NBA seasons in the NBA. During his career, Marbury averaged 19.3 points and 7.6 assists in stops with the Minnesota Timberwolves, New Jersey Nets, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks and Boston Celtics.
Appearing on the Heavy Live With Scoop B Show, Marbury discussed his time playing for Brown in the Olympics in Greece and he said it was bad from the start when he missed his flight for the team’s training that summer in Florida. “I had to spend $22,000 to get a private plane to make sure that I made it there on time,” he told me.
“I didn’t want to call in and make a bad impression on USA Basketball because all of the people that represented USA Basketball, I knew them from when I played with the Junior Olympic Team. So I had so much respect for them that I said, “You know what? That’s my mistake that I missed my flight.” I’m going to charter a plane to go from Phoenix, Arizona to Florida to where we were practicing at. And I got on that plane, it was the WORST flight ever! It was bumpy the whole time. I didn’t sleep one second on the flight and it was bumpy the whole time; and I’m flying there and I get there; when I get there– I check into my room and then I ask them where is the meeting room at; I go into the meeting room and I get there about 30 seconds before I was supposed to be inside the room without knowing where to go. So I get in the room and I’m sitting in my seat. LeBron James and Allen Iverson — they come about 30 seconds late.”
Marbury says that Brown punished James and Iverson for that game.”Larry Brown off the jump, he told those guys that they were suspended from playing in the game,” he said.
According to Marbury, after the game, Brown asked the team what their purpose was in being on the Olympic team. Marbury says he told Brown that his purpose was to ‘have fun.’ That answer apparently didn’t sit well with him. “This guy’s talking about having fun,” Marbury said that Brown said.
“I’m looking at him and I’m looking around the room wondering like, ‘What’s wrong with what I said about us going out and playing and having fun?’ Like, you gotta have fun when you’re playing basketball if you’re on the court when you play. From then, it was on. And when I tell you it was the worst 38 days of my life playing basketball; that’s exactly what it was.”
The 2004 U.S. Olympic team ended up winning a bronze medal in the Greece. Carmelo Anthony didn’t play much and was often benched by Larry Brown.
When the Olympics ended, Anthony was the subject of a 2004 DVD called Stop Snitching. During the documentary, Anthony visited his old neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland. While there, some of Anthony’s associates on his old neighborhood block were caught on tape joking about what they would do to Larry Brown because he benched Anthony.
One friend suggested should Larry Brown should visit Baltimore. Another friend said they’d lynch Brown if he ever came to Baltimore. Anthony later told his friends on camera that he threw his Olympic bronze medal in a lake. In actuality, Anthony gave it away.
According to a 2014 report from NBC Sports, the medal was auctioned off for $14,080 because Anthony was unhappy with his team’s performance in Athens and “no longer cared to have [the medal] in his possession.”
According to Julien’s Auctions, Anthony gave the bronze medal to a family member as a gift. The medal was put up for auction in May 2014, with bids starting at $4,500. Four years later in Beijing, Anthony won a gold medal with Team USA basketball, as well as in 2012 in the London Games.
Marbury was not apart of those teams, but his memory of the 2004 games are still a sore spot.
“That’s a documentary,” he said.
“The first person that does that documentary , they’re going to be the ones who — they’re gonna get it all. Because if you individually — the best time to get everybody is when they finished playing basketball because then that’s when it’s like you know… well some guys that’s playing, I don’t know if they’re going to keep it 100 but, the guys that’s not playing you know, I think will speak a little bit different about what it is that actually happened.”
A year after the Olympics, former Knicks President of Basketball Operations, Isiah Thomas, hired Brown to coach the Knicks despite Marbury’s resistance. “Isaiah told me that they were hiring him as coach, I couldn’t believe it,” Marbury recounted.
“It’s like literally being in shock. I’ll never forget it — I was on a boat; the Queen Mary. I was on a boat every day I would speak to him in the same spot and I would go outside my little room which was right off a little balcony and you can look out into the sea and I would put my feet up and I would talk to him. When he said that he was hiring him I was just like, “Wow.” I just could not believe it. I was shocked.”
Marbury’s documentary, A Kid from Coney Island, is available on Netflix and is getting rave reviews digitally. Currently, the head coach of the Beijing Royal Fighters of the Chinese Basketball Association, Marbury thinks he and Brown clashed for multiple reasons and in fact, he says that he’d often vent to Isiah Thomas about Brown.
“This guy is the WORST,” Marbury said of Brown.
“He does not care about anything other than what it is he’s talking about and what he thinks. And if you don’t agree and abide by what it is that he’s sayin’ or what he thinks, that’s it.’ He tries to make you conform towards his way of doing or thinking of what it is that he wants you to do and I just — wasn’t that dude. I love basketball but it wasn’t that serious to me. Life is way more important than a game. It is. I credit my mom and my dad for me having this understanding of this teaching of having a knowing about what’s way more important than a basketball game.
“It kind of bothered him that I had that type of spirit and that type of soul and when you have this understanding about standing for something and not falling for anything; when you have that understanding, you know when somebody’s for you and not for you. And I knew he wasn’t for me.”
Marbury and Brown’s rocky relationship began at the Olympics and carried over to New York City. The experiment only lasted a year and they argued tons. “I think him and I, we did not understand each other at all,” said Marbury.
“It was kind of like listening to ‘massa.’ That’s what it was kind of like. And I was so far from that. I was the dude like Nat Turner. Like, you could whoop my ass, you could kill me, you could do whatever you wanted to do…it doesn’t matter.”
Isiah Thomas took over Knicks head coaching duties after Brown’s departure and he and Marbury’s relationship got rocky when Mike D’Antoni took over the helm and Thomas went back to his front office duties. D’Antoni gave Marbury’s starting job to Chris Duhon and he’d eventually be vanished from the team. After leaving NYC, Marbury played 23 games for the Boston Celtics during the 2008-09 season before taking a year off and starting his playing career in China.