On August 15th, 2013 the Sixers hired the 24th head coach in franchise history – Brett Brown. It has been 7 long years since the ever-positive, vibrant, first-time NBA head coach first made Philadelphia his home. The unique Boston/Australian accent and genuine heart endeared him to the city and its fans right away.
The Process has worn on few people like it has Brett Brown. Coaching in the NBA is one of the most publicly scrutinized jobs in the world. They get very little of the shine when things are good and nearly all of the blame when times are bad. Hired by Sam Hinkie, Brown is the last remaining piece of the original part of the Process plan. He was absolutely the right hire at the time and there are few guys who would’ve had the mental resolve to get through those dark years. In many ways, this firing signifies the end of an era in Philadelphia.
Brett Brown is a unique character. After college, Brown began working a sales job at AT&T. He was financially stable making really good money but did not find any passion for this. He was under 25 years old making 6 figures and having multiple properties. On the surface, his life was nothing but success, but in his heart, there was something missing. Looking to fill this void, Brown quit his job and booked a one-way ticket to as far away from America as he could get.
For over a year the young Brett Brown backpacked across countries like Fiji, Tahiti, New Zealand, and eventually Australia. Having met a girl that was too tough to leave behind, his now-wife Anna, Brown realized he needed to find a job. A coach’s son, basketball was always a part of Brett’s life. At this time basketball was also beginning to gain traction around the Australia and New Zealand area. Brown offered to coach anyone that would listen and began working his way up the basketball ranks in Australia.
Having success early in his coaching career in Australia, Brown believed he was ready to try his hand coaching in America. Brown had met the GM of the Spurs at an NBA overseas camp located in Australia in previous years and hit it off. He used this contact to reach out and was given a chance as an unpaid assistant with the Spurs. He learned a ton in his time around Gregg Popovich and was promoted to Director of Player Development the following year. Brown tried to soak in every bit of info in his time with the Spurs to the point where he became the head coaching candidate that Philadelphia was first introduced to him as.
It is tough to find anyone to speak a negative word about Brown. Tim Duncan has repeatedly called him one of his “favorite people” he’s ever met. In the dark days of Sixers basketball where 10-game losing streaks were routine and an unknown name who was given a contract the day before leading the team in scoring was commonplace, Brown was absolutely the right man for the job. Every night he brought infectious energy and contagious optimism. To the best of his ability, he put a team full of borderline NBA players on the court and had them competing to the final buzzer. Brown grew as a coach in front of everyone else’s eyes and right along with the youthful team.
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