In the Lane With Licht: January 14, 2005

Bob LichtBob Licht


In a season where even the broadcasters are watching where they walk for fear of some freak mishap, theres one player who has remained healthy through it all.

In a season where every name in Byron Scotts lineup has changed, sometimes nightly, theres one player whos been a part of the starting five in every game.

In a season where consistency has been merely one of many things on the coachs wish list theres one player who has defined the word.

The player who is undoubtedly the Hornets MVP during the franchises most trying season is Collier Brown Jr., a.k.a. PJ Brown. (Those arent initials by the way. The p and the j stand for, to the best of his recollection, peanut butter and jelly, which was his favorite food as a kid).

How ironic is it that in a season where the Bees were expected to get younger and more athletic the best player on the team is their elder statesman? Brown, at 35 years of age, is not only the teams best player night in and night out but he is doing so while playing out of position.

Normally a power forward, the 6-11, 240 pounder has played the last 23 games at center while the Hornets wait for all-star Jamaal Magloire return from an injury (fractured right ring finger) that knocked him out less than a month into the regular season. All hes done inside is AVERAGE a double double (12 ppg/10 rpg) and lead the team with 13 point/rebound double doubles.

PJ is a 35-year-old who plays 25. He wasnt flashy when he was in his 20s so the lack of flash in his 30s isnt a negative. Major minutes have been thrust upon him because of Magloires injury and the lack of depth at the position. Brown, as he has throughout his 13-year career, has responded.

Brown is an anachronism in todays NBA. He doesnt do high-flying dunks. He doesnt listen to his iPOD during warm-ups. He doesnt request a trade. He doesnt reject public appearances. He doesnt appear on the police blotter.

Hes a consistent rebounder (18th in the league and 8th-leading offensive rebounder), post defender and double figure scorer. Hes the consummate team player and positive locker room influence. He may be the most approachable NBA player to media locally, regionally and nationally. Thats an admirable trait for a major league athlete in general. Thats an amazing trait during a 4-30 season.

The Hornets forward/center is very much like the UPS ad campaign that asks, WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU?

When it comes to PJ Brown, the answer is lengthy. In addition to his on court accomplishments (Hes in the Louisiana Basketball Hall of Fame and his alma maters Hall of Fame, Louisiana Tech), hes been one of the teams primary charity spokesman since joining the organization in 2000. This season, as the Hornets Junior Hornets spokesman, he meets many of the new members of the teams kids club at the arena on game days and is responsible for holding a couple of clinics during the season.

Byron Scott knows. Hornets fans know. Teammates know. What PJ Brown can do for us is continue to do what hes done for over a decade in the NBA. Now is the time to appreciate the quiet excellence of this teams MVP.

Bob Licht is in his ninth season as the New Orleans Hornets radio play-by-play voice. Licht, known for his high-energy, colorful broadcasts (including his signature big basket call, "bottom"), has also provided fill-in play-by-play on Hornets television broadcasts during parts of the past five NBA seasons on Fox Sports and Cox Sports Television.

Along with his play-by-play duties for the Hornets, Licht is also responsible for negotiating and building the Hornets Radio Network as well as authoring a weekly column "In The Lane" for

For five seasons, Licht was the play-by-play voice of the WNBA's Charlotte Sting and co-host of the Hornets and Sting monthly TV magazine shows.

The 28-year broadcast veteran also has an extensive background in professional baseball that spans three levels of minor league play. During that time, the Detroit native served as play-by-play voice for the Florida Marlins' Triple-A team (Charlotte Knights, International League) in 1996 and 1997 and the Pittsburgh Pirates' Double-A team (Carolina Mudcats, Southern League) from 1990-1995. He was named the league's broadcaster of the year in 1995.

The Mandeville resident graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in broadcast journalism in 1981. During his time at Syracuse, he was involved in radio broadcasts of S.U. football, basketball and lacrosse. As a junior, he served as a reporter at the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics and did play-by-play for the Toronto Blue Jays' Triple-A team (Syracuse Chiefs).

Following his graduation, Licht was the play-by-play voice of Marietta (Ohio) College football, basketball and baseball. From there he moved back to North Carolina, where he worked with the Wake Forest University football and basketball network as an engineer, color analyst and play-by-play broadcaster.

Licht and his wife, Monica, reside on the Northshore with their three daughters, Rachel, Sara and Alexandra.
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