- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 25, 2006

After he became coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Mike Brown planned a meeting with his star player, LeBron James.

James had the perfect meeting place in mind: Cedar Point Amusement Park.

The Sandusky, Ohio, park is considered one of the best amusement parks in the world, home to some of the top roller coasters.

“He told me, ‘Yeah, why don’t you catch up with us at the park because I’ll be over there with some of my buddies,’ ” Brown said. “He said, ‘It’s an amusement park and we’re going to be there for a while.’ I had to catch myself and then I chuckled. You’re thinking, this is LeBron James. And then you realize that even though he’s been through so much, he’s really still a kid at heart.”

The trip to the amusement park never happened, but Brown finally caught up to James at his Cleveland-area home. The former Wizards assistant coach said that ever since that meeting they’ve hit it off great, mostly because they didn’t discuss hoops.

“I wanted us to have a foundation for our relationship that wasn’t about basketball, because we are going to have a lot of time to talk basketball,” he said.

Brown then caught himself.

“Hey, I’m just 36,” said Brown, the second-youngest coach in the league said. “But you still don’t think that you’re going to meet one of the best basketball players in the world at an amusement park. But it worked out fine.

“His chef cooked for us and we planned to get together later on. I wound up coming to his home again for July 4 and got a chance to meet with his family. They are good people. That is where we started with our relationship. We just talked about what we were about and that’s how we got to know each other.”

Daniels delivers message

Antonio Daniels was livid during Game 1 of this playoffs series.

The nine-year veteran implored his Wizards teammates to play like a cohesive unit rather than individuals. At one point in the third quarter coming out of a timeout, he told the team: “We are all independent.”

The 6-foot-4 reserve guard never was able to get his message across despite having an impressive game with 14 points, making all six of his field goal attempts. The veteran of 61 playoff games — including a championship with the San Antonio Spurs in 1999 — continued to deliver his words of wisdom during the two off days before Game 2.

“The style of play in the playoffs is different,” he said. “I know we averaged 100 and some points in the regular season. It is going to be difficult to do that in the playoffs because the playoffs are a halfcourt game. We have to be a lot more disciplined. We are not going to be able to run by everybody.”

The 31-year-old stressed to the younger players that the playoffs require a lot more patience than the regular season.

Time to go

As the teams left the court at halftime last night, Wizards coach Eddie Jordan had to be restrained by his assistants as a fan yelled something at him that must have been below the belt.

Whatever it was, it was bad enough so that security had to escort the fan from his seat — which must have been pretty expensive considering how close it was to the floor — and removed him from the building.

Moments earlier, Jordan, angered over a no-call on what he believed was a Cleveland traveling violation, gave the officials an earful for almost one minute before leaving the court.

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