||[Aug. 4th, 2005|11:23 pm]
Stephen A. Smith's new show featured Larry Brown earlier this evening. It was the first time I tuned into Smith's new show, and I didn't know what to expect. I figured that Brown would sit with Smith for 5 minutes, and then it would be back to hot topics.
My notions proved quite wrong. Brown sat with Smith for about 40 minutes. I didn't realize that his show was that long. Brown's interview proved to be rather interesting. What's amazing about Brown is his candid nature blended with professionalism. Smith, by the way, pulled zero punches with his former Philly darling coach. The main concerns were dragged out in front of Brown . . . his health, the Davidson comment, the situation with the Pistons, the riot, the feelings for the future of the Knicks, his plans to work his fundamentals and team play with Starbury, and the eternal question of how long Brown's shelf-life will be with the new team.
Brown not only answered every question, he did it with a professionalism and emotional presence on every heavy lob.
My favorite moment was Brown's assertion to Smith and the audience that players must realize that they present themselves to the world as role models. Brown implicitly denounced Charles Barkley's famous denouncement of responsibility of public figures as role models. Brown argued that players like Iverson and others who are in the public eye have no choice but to present themselves with a professionalism worthy of their organization. He also believed that Barkley, deep down, also knew this to be true. He went on to state that he has made some mistakes, like everyone who is human also does. It made sense, the bulk of Brown's words on the subject, which translated to a dedication to aim high, yet leave a little room for mistake and the gradual maturation and refinement from the trials and failures.
When cornered with Davidson's comment, he took the high road and mentioned that Davidson probably would have taken back that comment if he could. He went on to talk about his own shortcomings with comments and gestures to fans, players, and referees that he wished he could take back. He touched on the need to move forward and to not dwell upon the previous history.
Of course, to Brown's haters, you would have loved this interview in what could have been a hatestravaganza.
I have noticed a trend with Brown which is unique to a few coaches like him in professional sport. He is often quite candid with people, and he is obviously a private person in a public setting, which is a rarity in itself. When asked about the last days of the Pistons job, he mentioned that the Game 7 loss solidified his drive to return to coaching. It suggests, to me, that had he won a 2nd championship, he probably would have retired. It's a shame, however, because if he wants to end on a high note, it will be against large odds in New York. Even Smith mentioned that he had his "work cut out" for him with the Knicks.
With the candid nature, however, is not necessarily a liar's personality. I've come to notice that the Hall of Fame coach bases a lot of his thoughts partially in fact and also in conjecture. Because he is so candid with the public, this potent batch of pure human is misunderstood. He will forever be a person who will never have a long-term home. He makes too many mistakes as a mad genius with his actions and comments to be rooted into one organization. At the same time, Brown cannot be compromised, and for his unsinkable nature, he is a rare individual, indeed.
By the way, Stephen A. Smith's new show is a huge success, in my opinion. His vanity and his personality, combined with the strength of his interviews and the interview today point to a very special show which will quickly dominate the landscape in ways that Mitch Albom cannot and Jim Rome will never approach. Stephen A. Smith gives you the kitchen sink, and like Brown, he gives you himself, which is a rarity in the public world. If you think that public figures give you their true selves in front of the cameras in great numbers, then you might want to re-evaluate that notion. What makes guys like Brown and Smith exceptional, however, often leads to their curse, as their pure nature tends to play like the Icarus flight. The flight, while it lasts, is beautiful to behold, and it should be cherished for every flap of the wing.