New Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike Brown may have been an attractive option for the team because of his experience in dealing with a larger-than-life personality. He coached LeBron James so he should be able to handle Kobe Bryant, right? Well according to Shaq… No.
In his upcoming basketball memoir, Shaq goes into great detail about Mike Brown’s relationship with LeBron while they were in Cleveland and thinks Brown and Kobe will have the same rapport.
“Our coach, Mike Brown, was a nice guy,” said Shaq, “but he had to live on edge because nobody was supposed to be confrontational with LeBron. Nobody wanted him to leave Cleveland, so he was allowed to do whatever he wanted to do … I’m not sure if Kobe is going to listen to Mike Brown. LeBron never really did. Here’s what we do know: Kobe will definitely be in charge”
I think this news won’t really come as a surprise to anyone. Was there ever any real doubt that LeBron was in charge of that Cleveland Cavaliers team? But will Brown’s backseat approach to coaching set the stage in L.A?
I don’t think so. When LeBron was in Cleveland, he knew he wasn’t on any kind of leash. He could get away with anything, play how he wanted, there wasn’t anyone who could tell him what to do. He had no reason to listen to his coach because, as well all know now, if LeBron wanted, he could get the coach fired.
In Los Angeles, Mike Brown is going to have a different type of player. While LeBron and Kobe are comparable in terms of talent, they’re very different in terms of coach-ability. I’ve always gotten the impression that even though Kobe can be a ball hog and throw the occasional tantrum, he cares about winning. He’ll follow a coach if it means the team succeeds. Granted, that was under one of the greatest coaches of all time, but I still think Kobe understands more what it means to be part of a team.
There are also other things in Los Angeles to keep Kobe in check. He’s got other players on his team that will stand up to him if he gets out of line, not a bunch of a role players that will sit back and watch like LeBron had in Cleveland. Not to mention, L.A. is home to some of the biggest personalities in the world. LeBron was bigger than the city he played in, Kobe is just a big part. He’s not everything to those fans, he’s a slightly more expendable.
One thing’s for sure, if Mike Brown is going to do his job right, he needs to set the tone early. Once this lockout is over, he needs to get to practice and show that he’s in charge. If that doesn’t work, he could always pull Kobe aside and say, “Hey, Shaq said you weren’t going to listen to me.” I’m sure Kobe will do anything to prove Shaq wrong.