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Larry Brown’s (Almost Complete) Career

Posted by Neil Paine on April 27, 2010

After the Orlando Magic completed their sweep of the Charlotte Bobcats yesterday, all eyes turned to Charlotte's coach, the brilliant, often enigmatic Larry Brown -- would he stay on as the leader of Michael Jordan's team, or were the rumors that he wanted to return to Philadelphia true? Brown responded in typical Larry Brown fashion:

"A reporter asked Brown about the [Philadelphia] report after the game. 'I'm not coaching anywhere but Charlotte,' Brown said. 'Now am I going to go home and talk to my wife and kids? I'll be 70 years old and I've got two young kids. Am I going to talk to them and find out what I need to do, and am I going to talk to Michael? Absolutely. But I'm not coaching anywhere but for Michael Jordan if he wants me and if I can work it out with my family.'

Of course, Brown didn't rule out taking on a team presidency with that statement. When asked if he would consider an executive role for a team other than Charlotte, Brown responded, 'That's hypothetical.'"

But whatever happens in the latest installment of the Larry Brown coaching carousel, you have to acknowledge that he has had one of the best and most unique careers of anyone associated with the game of basketball. In fact, it's been so successful & interesting that I want to map out Brown's entire career since his freshman year of college and see how many wins he has been involved in. To do this, I'll turn to a method I used here, which estimates the W-L record of the team in games the player played. Here's L.B.'s total resume, dating back to 1960:

Larry Brown's Career Reg. Season Playoffs
Year Age Role Team Lg G W L G W L
1960 19 Player UNC ACC-Fr
1961 20 Player UNC ACC 18 15 3
1962 21 Player UNC ACC 17 8 9
1963 22 Player UNC ACC 21 15 6
1964 23 Player Akron AAU
1964 23 Player USA Olympics 7 7 0 2 2 0
1965 24 Player Akron AAU
1966 25 Asst. Coach UNC ACC 27 16 11
1967 26 Asst. Coach UNC ACC 28 24 4 4 2 2
1968 27 Player NOB ABA 78 48 30 17 10 7
1969 28 Player OAK ABA 77 59 18 16 12 4
1970 29 Player WSA ABA 82 43 39 7 3 4
1971 30 Player VIR ABA 29 19 10
1971 30 Player DNR ABA 34 12 22 0 0 0
1972 31 Player DNR ABA 76 31 45 7 3 4
1973 32 Coach CAR ABA 84 57 27 12 7 5
1974 33 Coach CAR ABA 84 47 37 4 0 4
1975 34 Coach DNA ABA 84 65 19 13 7 6
1976 35 Coach DNA ABA 84 60 24 13 6 7
1977 36 Coach DEN NBA 82 50 32 6 2 4
1978 37 Coach DEN NBA 82 48 34 13 6 7
1979 38 Coach DEN NBA 53 28 25 0 0 0
1980 39 Coach UCLA PC10 26 17 9 6 5 1
1981 40 Coach UCLA PC10 26 20 6 1 0 1
1982 41 Coach NJN NBA 82 44 38 2 0 2
1983 42 Coach NJN NBA 76 47 29 0 0 0
1984 43 Coach KAN BIG8 28 19 9 2 1 1
1985 44 Coach KAN BIG8 30 23 7 2 1 1
1986 45 Coach KAN BIG8 34 31 3 5 4 1
1987 46 Coach KAN BIG8 33 23 10 3 2 1
1988 47 Coach KAN BIG8 32 21 11 6 6 0
1989 48 Coach SAS NBA 82 21 61 0 0 0
1990 49 Coach SAS NBA 82 56 26 10 6 4
1991 50 Coach SAS NBA 82 55 27 4 1 3
1992 51 Coach SAS NBA 35 23 12 5 2 3
1992 51 Coach LAC NBA 38 21 17 0 0 0
1993 52 Coach LAC NBA 82 41 41 5 2 3
1994 53 Coach IND NBA 82 47 35 16 10 6
1995 54 Coach IND NBA 82 52 30 17 10 7
1996 55 Coach IND NBA 82 52 30 5 2 3
1997 56 Coach IND NBA 82 39 43 0 0 0
1998 57 Coach PHI NBA 82 31 51 0 0 0
1999 58 Coach PHI NBA 50 28 22 8 3 5
2000 59 Coach PHI NBA 82 49 33 10 5 5
2001 60 Coach PHI NBA 82 56 26 23 12 11
2002 61 Coach PHI NBA 82 43 39 5 2 3
2003 62 Coach PHI NBA 82 48 34 12 6 6
2004 63 Coach DET NBA 82 54 28 23 16 7
2005 64 Coach DET NBA 82 54 28 25 15 10
2006 65 Coach NYK NBA 82 23 59 0 0 0
2009 68 Coach CHA NBA 82 35 47 0 0 0
2010 69 Coach CHA NBA 82 44 38 4 0 4
Totals 3013 1769 1244 313 171 142

Aside from his season on the Freshman team at North Carolina (in those days, freshmen weren't allowed to play Division I varsity basketball) and his 2 seasons with the Akron Goodyear Wingfoots of the National AAU Basketball League, I estimate that Brown has been a part of 1,940 wins as a college/pro player/coach, including 171 in the playoffs. Is that a record? My guess is that Don Nelson has him beat, but not by much (come to think of it, I should do one of these for Nellie as well)... Either way, though, it's been an impressive career for Larry Brown, especially when you consider that he's made 21 stops along the way. The only question now is, will he be coaching at #22 next fall?

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3 Responses to “Larry Brown’s (Almost Complete) Career”

  1. Peter Says:

    What about Lenny Wilkens?

  2. Neil Paine Says:

    Another interesting choice for one of these career maps. Thanks!

  3. Mike G Says:

    Larry Brown led the ABA in assists in the first 3 years of that league.
    In 1972, age 31, he was 2nd in Assists, 1st in Ast%. Playing 2013 minutes.
    In 1973, he was a full-time coach.

    He had no interval as player-coach.