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Herb Brown to receive NABC Lifetime Achievement Award

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Herb Brown, a longtime fixture in the NBA and global basketball, has been tabbed for special recognition by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

In April, Brown, who served as an adviser coach for Japan’s FIBA Asia Championship for Women’s title-winning team last fall, will receive the NABC’s International Committee Lifetime Achievement Award during the organization’s annual convention. The spring event will be held in conjunction with the NCAA Men’s Final Four at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The 77-year-old Brown is the older brother of Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown, who’s currently the sideline supervisor at Southern Methodist University.

For the lifelong hoop mentor who has proclaimed he “never wants to retire” from teaching and coaching the game he loves, the special award is a true blessing.

“I am shocked, humbled and overwhelmed,” Brown wrote in an email to The Japan Times. “(It’s) not something I ever even thought about.

“To even be nominated and considered for the award is an honor in itself and then to be selected is incredible. When you think of the individuals previously honored, by the committee it is awesome to be included with those prestigious coaches,” added the New York City native, whose coaching career began as a college assistant in 1960 at C.W. Post in Long Island, New York.

Herb Brown, a one-time Detroit Pistons bench boss (1976-78) teamed up with his brother in later years, serving as his assistant on the Pistons’ 2003-04 NBA championship team, as well as together at Philadelphia and Charlotte. He also had assistant coaching positions with NBA squads Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix, Indiana, Chicago and Portland.

Larry Brown’s peripatetic ways have long been a subject of conversation in basketball circles. But Herb Brown’s own career path has included memorable (and successful) stints in Puerto Rico and Pakistan, Israel and Spain, plus bench boss gigs in the now-defunct Continental Basketball Association and Western Basketball Association. While in Pakistan as its national team coach in 1972, his job was backed by the U.S. State Department.

An author of three books — “Basketball’s Box Offense,” “Preparing for Special Situations” and “Let’s Talk Defense” — Brown’s involvement in Basketball Without Borders and Playing for Peace, which has been described by The Baltimore Sun as a group committed to”bridging barriers in communities historically separated by strife,” including South Africa, Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Israel, hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Recognizing Brown’s body of work spanning six decades, the NABC is adding him to a list of past recipients that includes the Naismith family, Dick Schultz (former NCAA and USOC executive director), Dr. Gary Cunningham (former National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics chief), Julio Lamas (Argentine coaching standout) and Patrick Hunt (first Australian to receive the honor in 2012, when he was president of the World Association of Basketball Coaches).

The NABC Lifetime Achievement Award has been described in a statement as honoring “a person who has committed their life to being a guardian of the game, the advancement of proper coaching education and development of basketball across international borders contributing to growth of the game.”