The 33-year basketball coaching career of Hubie Brown came to a close Thursday. On Friday, he addressed the media about his decision.
Memphis Grizzlies president of basketball operations Jerry West announced that Brown was retiring Thursday and that assistant Lionel Hollins has been named the team's interim coach.
"Since we started in October and then as we started the season I've had things come up," Brown said. "You're body gives you a warning sign and you'll see, but until you get up there you're not going to understand it. For guys like me the medical stuff is private."
"Obviously this is not something we had planned," West said. "For me, this is not a good day, and I don't think a good day for our franchise. But hopefully the start of something new and exciting in Hubie's life."
Brown, 71, became the sixth coach in Grizzlies history on November 12, 2002 and immediately reversed the fortunes of the franchise. In his first full season with Memphis in 2003-04, Brown earned NBA Coach of the Year honors leading the Grizzlies to a 50-win season and their first playoff appearance.
"Just off the top, I would just like to say this. I'm tremendously indebted to Mr. Heisley and to Jerry because they had faith that we could do this," Brown said. "They had to be courageous to bring someone back at 69 years of age. Then you feel a great indebtedness to them because they had that confidence to do this."
Brought in by West to teach a young and inexperienced team, Brown was criticized by some who felt he was too old to deal with today's NBA player and was out for the game for too long.
The second-guessing was unwarranted as Brown turned in what may be regarded as his best coaching job while with the Grizzlies.
"To have a chance to work with a man of this caliber and this integrity is something that I will cherish when I'm gone from this league," West said. "I think the organization is so much better off from having a man who is this committed to bringing excellence to a franchise that had little or no success."
Brown coached 15 seasons in the NBA, leading the New York Knicks to the playoffs twice in five seasons and the Atlanta Hawks to three postseason appearances in five years. Brown also won an ABA championship in 1975 with the Kentucky Colonels.
"I need on a daily basis an energy and stamina, and then with me it's a spirit," Brown said. "They're the things that drive me into the passion that you have for your game. The spirit is what gives you passion on a daily basis. Well, one day you wake up and you don't have that, and that's when you've got to understand that it's the time that you've got to walk."
I hope this keeps up. I am sad that a legend has retired but they have to move on. Lets keep up the streak Grizzlies!