- The Washington Times - Friday, June 23, 2006

Larry Brown has talked himself out of another job, only this time his apologists in the media are having a difficult time rationalizing his self-destructive tendencies, hypocrisy and self-absorption.

Brown normally receives a free pass in the media because of his ability to win games with franchises that have no history of success, which allows him to, in effect, say: “Don’t do as I do. Do as I say.”

Brown always has admonished his teams “to play the right way,” which jars the senses if you consider he rarely has followed that philosophy with his employers.

He inevitably asks his players to subjugate their egos for the good of the team, although he never has been one to subjugate his ego for the good of the team.

He inevitably requests loyalty from his team, although being loyal is not one of his redeeming qualities.

His underhanded maneuverings peaked to shameful levels during the playoffs in 2005, when he was trying to lead the Pistons to the championship while meeting “in secret” with prospective employers.

Brown should have had the decency to wait out the playoffs before looking elsewhere.

He should have had the self-discipline to put the fortunes of his team ahead of his selfish interests.

But he didn’t, and his yearnings to be elsewhere became as much a focus in the national press as the on-court accomplishments of the Pistons.

That is the way it always has been with Brown. His eternal mid-life crisis always has come with a question: Where is he going next?

James Dolan and Isiah Thomas probably should have pondered these truths before awarding Brown a five-year, $50 million contract last summer.

They probably should have assumed Brown and Stephon Marbury would be unable to resolve their differences from the Athens Games in 2004.

They probably should have known one of Brown’s ways in dealing with petulant players is to leak criticisms of them to beat reporters.

And they probably should have considered the prospect of Brown’s double-dealings blowing up in his face one of these seasons, as they finally did with the Players are not dumb. Marbury and the rest of the Knicks undoubtedly had the same question as the national press last summer, which was: Why would Brown leave the ideal situation of the Pistons for the dysfunction of the Knicks?

And the Knicks undoubtedly came to the answer in their respective ways.

It could not have been entirely easy for Brown to be landing in yet another NBA city with so much psychobabble trailing him.

Trust is an important quality in sports. Players and the coaching staff have to trust each other.

Brown treats that fundamental requirement as if it were so much discarded tape being banished to the locker room floor following a game.

He asks a player to trust him, but he is not obligated to trust the player.

In fact, if he is having a low-level anxiety attack about the direction of the team, he is liable to throw a player under the bus, as he did with Marbury.

Marbury’s struggles in the NBA are well-documented. He is a two guard masquerading as a one. And this unsettled state can be frustrating to both the coach and the player.

But those frustrations are best handled behind closed doors and not with a third party, in this case the local media.

Brown’s urge to distance himself from failure is greater than his urge to be professional.

Before he went scurrying to the Knicks, he should have recognized the arduous challenge ahead and thought in terms of small victories.

Everyone knew what a mess the Knicks were, how did he not receive the same memo?

Instead, he took the job and then complained about the personnel.

That is just bad form if you are seeking to get the most out of your players.

It also is counterproductive, assuming the Knicks were left uninspired by Brown’s duplicity.

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