Brett Brown coaching against his former team

Sixers coach Brett Brown was with the San Antonio Spurs for all four of their NBA championships.
Sixers coach Brett Brown was with the San Antonio Spurs for all four of their NBA championships. (MATT SLOCUM / AP)
Posted: November 12, 2013

Brett Brown spent the last 11 seasons as a San Antonio Spurs assistant before taking the 76ers head coaching job in August.

"That's my benchmark," Brown said of the Spurs. "That's my background."

The rookie head coach's past and present will meet at 7 Monday night when his Sixers (4-3) host the Spurs (6-1) at the Wells Fargo Center.

One can only imagine what the pregame conversation between Brown and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will be like. Popovich has to be proud of his former assistant and close friend's accomplishment.

Under Brown's leadership, the Sixers are one of the NBA's early-season surprise stories. Considered among the NBA's worst teams, they are in first place in the Atlantic Division.

"Pop is arguably the most influential basketball person I've had outside of my father [Bob Brown, a New England Hall of Famer]," Brown said. "He has been beyond kind to me, beyond influential in my life.

"To be able to coach against the Spurs, and see the guys that I have been with for a long time, it's a privilege that I don't take lightly."

Brown coached in Australia before taking a volunteer job in the Spurs' player-development department in 1998-99. He returned to Australia in 2000 to coach the Sydney Kings for two seasons before going back to San Antonio in 2002 as the full-time player-development coach. Brown was promoted to the bench before the 2006-07 season.

The Spurs won four NBA titles (1999, 2003, '05, '07) during Brown's stay with the team. They just missed out on a fourth, losing in Game 7 of the NBA Finals to the Miami Heat in June.

He and Popovich still communicate frequently.

"I always get something from him," Brown said. "He's one of those guys you hang up the phone and you feel a little bit better than when you started the phone call."


kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

www.inquirer.com/deepsixer

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