HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Contrary to what some folks would have you believe, there is life after LeBron James.
In the case of of former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown, a really good life.
He was forced to shift his focus dramatically after being fired by the Cavs last spring, he was the first casualty after their playoff flame-out against the Celtics, which ended his days of matching wits with the likes of Doc Rivers (above) and Phil Jackson.
So what does a guy do after being fired from what seemed like a dream job, coaching the NBA’s best team and arguably its best player and making millions in the process?
He finds an even better one as a volunteer assistant, as Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Plain Dealer explains:
For the first time in 18 years, Mike Brown has not reported to an NBA training camp.
But the former Cavaliers coach who was fired last spring hasn’t given up coaching altogether.
He has taken his talents to the football field, serving as a volunteer assistant for his son Cameron‘s eighth-grade team at Lee Burneson Middle School in Westlake.
“I have to be the highest-paid film guy for any eighth-grade football team in the country,” Brown said with a laugh last week. He is still collecting about $2 million from the Cavs.
There’s no doubt that $2 million makes it easier for Brown to enjoy the good life now. But give Brown, one of the best people I’ve ever dealt with in the business, credit for recognizing that if ever he was going to enjoy his family, the time to do so was now.
Although he’d like to get back into the NBA and might do some television work this season, his dismissal gave him some midcareer bonus time with his family, and he’s taking full advantage of it. He starts every day by driving older son Elijah to St. Edward High School, where he’s a sophomore on the basketball team. The two work out in the school gym for at least an hour most mornings, then Elijah heads to class while Mike hangs out in the athletic department office or the bookstore.
Brown will return to his home in Westlake, and he and his wife Carolyn either will head out for a walk or go out for breakfast or lunch until its time for football practice, which has been something of a revelation for Brown. He did play high school football while growing up in a military family stationed in Germany, and he coached Elijah’s first-grade flag football team in San Antonio. Sort of.
“I remember all my responsibilities clearly,” Brown said. “I was the defensive coordinator, so I told all the kids to go get the flag. I also taught all the kids how to chest bump. Our team was called the Dogs. Before every game and after every game I led our cheer. I’d go, ‘Who let the dogs out?’ And all the parents and all the kids would go, ‘Woof, woof, woof, woof.’ We’d say it three times. That was the extent of my responsibilities.”
Welcome to the good life Mike Brown!