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Brett Brown's roots paying dividends for Sixers
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Brett Brown is 15-33 in his first season as an NBA head coach. At times, his team is painful to watch. But there has never been a time, to this point, where Brown -- who for the previous 12 seasons had been associated with a staff that put together 50-plus wins per year -- has lost it.

Brown speaks in his "Bostralian" accent, as he likes to call it, out of respect for his organization, his players and his staff. But he does not sugarcoat the fact that where the team is, is a far cry from where it needs to be.

In an industry filled with many egos, where did this man come from?

He came from Portland, Maine and he is darn proud to say so.

“I am proud to carry the state’s flag too,” Brown said midweek when the Sixers were in Boston and the Maine media turned out in droves. “When I coached in London they (Maine supporters) reached out too. I lived in Australia for 17 years. I married an Australian and two of my three children were born there. And then you live in San Antonio for 12 years, so I have not been on this side of the country for quite some time, and you blink and you are 50 something.

“To come back now and reconnect with people and to be here is a fantastic thing, especially for the people of Maine. I too am proud to be from that state. It is a gorgeous state. The older I get the more I appreciate it.”

Brown’s parents still live in Maine. Both Bonny and Bob are retired but they are in close enough proximity to see their only son master his craft at the highest level in person, from time to time. That is as satisfying as it gets for a parent, especially when the son followed in his father’s footsteps. Bob Brown coached high school basketball for 52 years and at the college level for four seasons (1990-91 to 1993-94).

“I think the thing with our culture in Maine, we tell it like it is,” Bob Brown said. “We are not political. We are not out there trying to impress anybody. That is just the way it is and we go about our business.

“I think maybe he picked up some of this from me. I started in a school with 57 kids and everyday I went, I had fun, liked people and did the best job I could, and I had a decent work ethic and this is what he learned.”

What more do we hope to teach our children? Love what you do and do it the best you can.

But a strong work ethic was not all that was passed down from one Brown generation to the next.

“My dad used to take me when I was like three years old in a back pack, he’d take me down the river, tie me to a tree and I would fish,” Bob Brown recalled. “Then I took Brett when he was four and I would put him on my back and we would wade into a river and I would cast out and hook the trout and I would let the line go dead and hand it to him. And I would say ‘why don’t you reel it in a little bit?’ So we go way back with fishing.”

But basketball was the elder Brown’s livelihood, and its what his son grew up knowing and eventually loving -- first as a player and later as a coach.

Bob Brown is now 76 years old, four years retired from coaching but having no trouble filling his days.

“I play a lot of bridge, I play a game called pickle ball. I play it five or six days a week,” Bob Brown said. “It’s great fun, great exercise. And my wife takes me shopping and I take a book.

“It was time,” Brown continued, talking about choosing retirement. “After 52 years I had been there, done that, been all over the world, had great wonderful people around me.”

Brown says he doesn’t regret his decision, but rather embraces what coaching basketball now affords him.

“I help out some people now,” Brown said. “Do I miss it? I like to teach. If someone said here is a job and you are going to run practices but you don’t have to coach a game, I would say ‘I’m in.’ I love that because that’s fun.”

Bob Brown knows losing isn’t fun. He has certainly “been there, done that,” although maybe not to the extent his son has had to endure this season. But any coach knows what it feels like to come out on the wrong side of the ledger.

“I call him after games, and some of the games were bad, meaning large scores, and I said ‘how are you doing?’ And he says ‘Dad I love it,’” Bob Brown recounted. “’I love the guys. I love their attitude. They are hanging in there, the older guys are showing leadership.’ He said ‘I have nothing negative. Everyday I wake up, I go in, I have a coaching job to do and I like the people around me.’”

Again, what more could a parent hope to hear from their child?

“As a coach I have been through losses and it’s no fun, but he is handling it extremely well,” Bob Brown said.

And what makes Bob Brown even prouder is that prior to his son being named the Sixers’ head coach, his son wasn’t wasting time looking for the next big thing.

Brett Brown is like his father. He enjoys basketball, he loves teaching and he appreciates that he has been blessed to be around good people.

“You learn to work hard and have a good work ethic and if you do that you can’t look back,” Bob Brown stressed. “And so I think he has never been that guy who says, ‘Am I going to get this job?’ I never did that. I just did my job and somewhere along the way, people are going to recognize that and come and say ‘We like you.’”

The Sixers did just that and now they are lucky to have Brett Brown, and he’s lucky to have them.

“I think he is so lucky to be in Philadelphia,” Bob Brown said. “As a coach you have to be in the right place at the right time with the right circumstances and the right people and I think he is.”