November 2, 2004 |
Jim O'Brien was a typical Philadelphia kid. He avidly followed all of the Philadelphia professional sports teams when he was growing up. Though he was a big baseball fan, basketball was his first love, and the 76ers were the team for whom he cheered louder than any other. In fact, the first time he came face-to-face - in a manner of speaking - with a Sixers player, it happened in his neighborhood, and it was unforgettable. The player: Wilt Chamberlain. "It was at Broad and Butler," O'Brien recalled.
March 15, 2001 |
This was at a team party thrown by St. Joseph's University coach Jack McKinney and his wife, Claire, in 1974. It was the McKinneys' way of thanking the basketball team for its dedication and determination. It was a Hawks rite of spring. Claire McKinney recalls striking up a conversation with Jim O'Brien, the Hawks' gritty senior point guard from Roman Catholic High. "So Jim, what will you do now?" she said. "I think I'm going to work for Procter & Gamble," replied O'Brien, ever-businesslike, perfectly content with the knowledge that he did not have a future as a pro player.
October 10, 2012
SO WHO WAS responsible for turning radio's Howard Eskin into TV's Howard Eskin? The folks at KYW-TV who, in 1982, gave him his first television sports-anchoring gig, certainly played a role. But there is someone else Eskin credits as much, if not more. That would be the late, great Jim O'Brien, whom Eskin met when he was just starting out in broadcasting in the 1970s, when working behind the scenes at Top 40 powerhouse WFIL-AM. At the time, O'Brien was already a beloved personality, doing double duty at both 'FIL and its then-corporate sibling, Channel 6. Eskin recalled that in 1981, a year before he was hired at Channel 3, "Jim O'Brien said, 'You should be on television.' " Then the Channel 3 offer came, and, remembered Eskin, "He was the first guy I called.
May 24, 2005 |
Billy King spun the 76ers' head coach revolving door again yesterday, pushing out Jim O'Brien after just one season and bringing in Maurice Cheeks, the popular former Sixers player and assistant coach, as O'Brien's replacement. Nearly three weeks after the Sixers ended their season, King decided to fire O'Brien, who still has two years and $8 million left on the contract he signed when he was hired by the Sixers on April 21, 2004. Cheeks, who was fired March 2 as head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, is the fourth head coach since King took over as the team's president and general manager on May 26, 2003.
October 25, 2004 |
Under first-year coach Jim O'Brien, the 76ers have enjoyed a relatively calm preseason so far. No controversies. No major injuries. And no shortage of competition for each position. O'Brien has lauded many of the players who have enjoyed solid preseasons. Most players - led by Allen Iverson, who looks very much like somebody looking to atone for a disappointing and injury-plagued season - are performing at a higher level than last season. So with so much positive news coming from the Sixers, one area of concern has been the play of Samuel Dalembert.
October 3, 2004 |
Jim O'Brien, a long-suffering Philadelphia sports fan dating back to his days as a 12-year-old Olney kid watching the 1964 Phillies cough up a sure National League pennant, has had almost six months to reacquaint himself with the area since the 76ers hired him as their head coach. Now, it's time to go to work. With training camp beginning Tuesday in Durham, N.C., O'Brien has a plan and a purpose to get the Sixers back into the playoff mix following a woeful, injury-wracked season that saw two head coaches, a career-low 48 games for Allen Iverson, and only 33 wins, fewest for a full season since 1997-98.
January 5, 2005 |
Jim O'Brien intently watches practice. He meticulously reviews game tapes. He pores over statistics and trends and tendencies, which he refers to as "volumes of data. " In doing all of this, the coach of the 76ers seeks to come up with the best five-player group he can put on the court. And in his team's 30 games thus far, that has meant going with a different starter at the shooting-guard spot from time to time. O'Brien went with third-year man John Salmons at that position on Monday night in the Sixers' 112-104 victory over the Golden State Warriors.
May 24, 2005 |
Basketball fans across the Philadelphia area said that Sixers head coach Jim O'Brien's departure will be a welcome change, and many are looking forward to seeing former Sixer Maurice Cheeks take over. To many, O'Brien's failing was that he was unable to manage his players in a way that produced consistent results. "No one seemed to like him. His players didn't like him. Philly didn't like him. The players would have played better if they were happy, but they haven't been happy for quite a while," said Mark Weinmann, 35, of Wynnewood.
October 8, 2004 |
He is the other A.I. of the 76ers. But unlike the guy the NBA world knows as A.I., rookie Andre Iguodala has been so quiet at the Sixers' training camp to date, people wonder if he left the gym. Unless, of course, the people are Jim O'Brien and his coaching staff. They are pleased with what they've seen from the team's No. 1 draft choice thus far. "He doesn't speak up a lot, but he has a very aggressive and confident demeanor on the court," O'Brien said yesterday, after the first of the day's two practice sessions at Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium.
March 20, 1999 |
After each improbable win this season, Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien would gather his assistants together and say, "Can you believe how well we just played?" Yesterday, as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes after a late night of kicking top-seeded Auburn out of the NCAA South Regional with a 72-64 win that was built on courage, chest-to-chest defense, and splendid guard play, O'Brien was still amazed by his stunning Buckeyes. "Is there any more left? Can we keep giving more? I've asked myself those questions, and they keep coming up with something more.