In the Lane With Licht: January 14, 2005
HORNETS MVP..WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU?
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.