76ers Blog: Popovich Says He Learned From Brown
11/11/2013 6:29:00 PM
Prior to tip-off of tonight's meeting between the 76ers and San Antonio, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich spent several minutes reflecting on the bond he developed with former assistant coach and current Sixers head coach Brett Brown.
'On a personal level, he's a great friend,' said Popovich, who gave Brown his first NBA coaching assignment heading into the lockout-shortened 1998-1999 NBA season. 'I'm thrilled for him that he got this opportunity, and people will find out shortly that he's for real.'
According to Brown, the two were first put in touch with one another in the late 1990s via San Antonio General Manager R.C. Buford. At the time, Buford was working in the Spurs scouting department, and connected with Brown while Brown was coaching in Australia. After communicating back-and-forth, Brown and Popovich discovered they shared a mutual contact from Brown's native state of Maine. That connection further facilitated the relationship.
Brown was initially brought on to Popovich's staff in an unpaid role. He landed a full-time position on the Spurs' bench in 2002. Popovich said that Brown's passionn for the game has always been apparent.
'He'll infect the players with that, and they'll respond. And over time, they'll be very happy,' Popovich said. 'He's not some rookie learning how to coach right now. He knows what it takes to win. He knows how to build the blocks, not skip steps.'
Some additional audio commentary from Popovich's media availability is linked beneath the image to the right.