Larry Brown is one of the basketball coaches in History. Now, he will receive an honor that cements it.
On Thursday afternoon, the National Basketball Coaches Association announced that Brown is the 2021 recipient of the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award.
“Larry Brown has achieved coaching success at the highest levels of basketball in a career that began in 1965 as an assistant to Dean Smith at the University of North Carolina,” said Indiana Pacers Head Coach and National Basketball Coaches Association President Rick Carlisle.
“Not only is he a Hall of Famer and the only coach to have won an NBA and NCAA Championship, [but] he has won multiple Olympic medals. And numerous Coach of the Year Awards. Larry’s ‘Coaching Tree’ is ridiculously wide-ranging and includes close to fifty current or former Head Coaches. Congratulations to Larry on this well-deserved and prestigious recognition.”
Since 1972, Brown has held 14 head coaching jobs between the NCAA, NBA, and the LBA. Brown has also earned several Coach of the Year honors along the way.
However, Brown’s most significant came in 1988 and 2004. That’s when he coached the Kansas Jayhawks and the Detroit Pistons to an NCAA and NBA Championship, respectively. His NBA Championship with the Pistons is arguably his most impressive feat.
And that’s one reason. There was no expectation for it. Brown, and the Pistons weren’t favorites to win. Despite that, his “play the right way” mantra set the the tone for a “five-game sweep” of the Los Angeles Lakers en route to his first NBA Championship.
He also guided the US men’s Olympic basketball team to a bronze medal in 2004.
Brown is the only head coach in NBA history to lead eight different franchises s to the playoffs. He’s also the only head coach to have coached two teams in the same season. He did this in 1991-92, coaching both the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers.
Besides having a fantastic coaching career, Brown should receive this honor for another reason. And that’s because of the award’s namesake.
Like Brown, Chuck Daly also coached the Detroit Pistons. And both share the distinction as the only two head coaches to guide the Pistons to championships.
“I am honored to receive the Chuck Daly Lifetime Award for multiple reasons,” said Larry Brown.”
“Chuck Daly was a great coach and a great person whose work and legacy are appropriately celebrated with this award. To be mentioned in the same conversation with the previous recipients is truly humbling. I want to thank all of the Coaches with whom I coached and those I coached against, so many of whom are great competitors and friends.”
“And thanks to the players [that] I had the good fortune to coach. I am very proud of what my teams accomplished. Lastly, I want to thank the NBA Coaches Association and the Selection Committee for this honor.”
Brown, 80, currently serves as an assistant head coach at Memphis under Penny Hardaway.