North State Journal’s 100 in 100 series will showcase the best athlete from each of North Carolina’s 100 counties. From Alamance to Yancey, each county will feature one athlete who stands above the rest. Some will be obvious choices, others controversial, but all of our choices are worthy of being recognized for their accomplishments — from the diamond and gridiron to racing ovals and the squared circle. You can see all the profiles as they’re unveiled here.
A 6-foot-7 forward who earned Mr. Basketball honors in North Carolina as a senior at North Brunswick High School in Leland, Brown helped NC State win an ACC Tournament championship in 1987 and a regular season title two years later. He led the league in rebounding as a senior and finished his college career with the third-highest field goal percentage in school history.
He was drafted in the second round by the Cleveland Cavaliers, won an NBA championship ring with the Houston Rockets in 1995 and had a productive career in which he scored 4,125 points and pulled down 2,148 rebounds in parts of 13 seasons. And yet, despite all that success, the thing for which he’s best remembered is the fact that he played for 12 different teams during his career — a league record he shares with Joe Smith, Tony Massenburg and Jim Jackson.
“I had people walking around telling me I wouldn’t make it,” Brown told author Tim Peeler for the book “Legends of N.C. State Basketball.” “So it was satisfying to not only make it but to play in the league for 13 years and to win a ring. Some of the greatest players in history don’t have a ring.”
After finally retiring as a player in 2002, Brown transitioned into coaching, serving three seasons as an assistant in the NBA’s development league before getting his first head coaching position with the Los Angeles D-Fenders. He also spent time as a scout for the New Orleans Pelicans and is currently the head boys’ varsity coach at West Johnston High School in Benson.
“I’m excited to be a part of this team now,” Brown said upon his hiring. “I’ve always been a part of a team and always been known as a good team player. I’m excited to work with these young men.”