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Why Leaving Warriors Felt Right for Brown

Jun 27, 2022

Fresh off his third NBA championship with the Golden State Warriors, new Kings Coach Mike Brown was introduced to Sacramento on Tuesday and made it clear he is there to end the franchise’s 16-year playoff drought.

Brown showed up to his first press conference at Golden 1 Center in a purple shirt, symbolizing a new chapter in his 25-year NBA coaching career. It has been eight years since he served in a head-coaching role, however, and on Tuesday, he explained to reporters why he decided to leave the Warriors to take the helm in Sacramento.

It turns out it was a little bit of everything.

“The potential here,” Brown said. “I truly believe the potential is off the charts. It gets me excited thinking about it. And trying to contain my composure, excitement while going through what [the Warriors] experienced the last couple of months was tough for me.

“… The players here, I’m excited about. Like I said before, [general manager] Monte [McNair], [assistant GM] Wes [Wilcox], [Chief Operating Officer] Matina [Kolokotronis]. I’m excited about working with those guys and the rest of the organization.” 

“And then the reality of it is I’m excited about everything that’s going on here, from the building to the facilities. Every time I walk through here, I’m blown away … I’m ready to get out to the public, ready to touch the people here in Sacramento and give back to the people here for being so passionate and loyal to the Kings.” Brown added.

Brown hopes to bring a winning culture from the Bay to the 916 for the fans in Sacramento, who have endured the longest playoff drought in NBA history over the last 16 seasons. And that record isn’t something Brown will shy away from talking about.

“There ain’t no elephant in the room…” Brown quoted.

Brown won three rings with the Warriors, where he served under Steve Kerr since 2016. Brown earned a ring as part of the San Antonio Spurs coaching staff in 2003, too, where Kerr was on the roster.

His head coaching experience came with the Cleveland Cavaliers (2005-10, 2013-14) and Los Angeles Lakers (2011-12), where he compiled 47-36 record across eight seasons. He also coached in place of Kerr for the Warriors during their most recent playoff run and during the 2017 postseason.

While Golden State was making its way to the 2022 NBA Finals, Brown told reporters that he remained heavily involved with the happenings in Sacramento. After the Warriors beat the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference finals, Brown hopped on a plane to watch De’Aaron Fox work out in San Diego and went to lunch with the Kings star and his family.

He has spoken with every single Kings player on multiple occasions, he added, and remained in constant contact with McNair since being named head coach.

Now that the moment is officially here, Brown said he has plenty to look forward to, like the chemistry between Fox and Domantas Sabonis, who he described as a “top-three combination in the league right now.”

He recalled how the ringing of Cowbell Kingdom used to irk him as a visiting coach during the 2000s, but now would be a welcome sound. Brown wants to bring that excited atmosphere back to Golden 1, and it all starts with soul.

“I’m excited about this team, but one of the main reasons that I was brought here was to bring some leadership in a lot of different areas,” Brown said. “I’ve been with a lot of teams in my 30 years, and I’ve experienced what I believe is something that can get organizations over the top not just in one year, but year in and year out.

“And that’s having a winning culture. My job is to lead in that area. Every organization out there, in my opinion, has a soul … And the stronger that soul is, the better that organization will be.”

The Kings started their coaching search after firing Luke Walton midseason and not retaining interim coach Alvin Gentry after the season. 

Mark Jackson was another top candidate for the position, and he and Brown were the reported finalists. 

Sacramento desperately seeks stability and change. Brown will hope to lead that change as he hopes to help get the Kings to their first postseason in 17 seasons next year. 

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