A Running Habit
Over the course of the 76ers’ four-game, nine-day Western Conference road trip, we’ll be compiling a collection of short stories involving members of the team, and its traveling party.
Be sure to check back regularly for updates to our ‘Reflections From the Road’ series.
• Part I: Hard to Leave Home
• Part II: The Altitude, It's Real
• Part III: Binge Watching is Coming
• Part IV: A Summertime Destination
• Part V: Bring That Bell, Brotha!
A RUNNING HABIT
Think of how loud coaching an NBA basketball game must get inside Brett Brown’s head.
A couple dozen people to manage, between players and coaches; so many high-stake calculations and tactical decisions to make; plus, there’s the matter of dealing with the actual crowd noise as well.
Thursday’s raucous clash with the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena - a win! - was just the latest example.
In an effort to find some internal serenity before confronting the torrent of the sideline, Brown banks on habit. Every gameday, he goes for a run. It’s a routine the 57-year old has kept throughout his coaching career.
By now, Brown has his routes down pat, regardless of location. At home, he makes his way from The Center into neighboring FDR Park. On the road, he knows where to go, too.
As for San Francisco (the team stays there when playing at Golden State), it’s one of Brown’s favorite places to run.
“Top 5, because I have a specific route that I’ve done for every one of my 18 years in the NBA. You’re not out here on the West Coast a lot now coaching in the Eastern Conference. When I was with San Antonio, we came out here a few times a season. I don’t have much variety - I still stick to my route.”
On the road, Brown typically goes for his pre-game run about two hours before the Sixers leave for the arena.
What’s the appeal of San Francisco? Like the other cities in Brown’s top 5 - (in no particular order) Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami - there’s a common theme. They're all close to water.
“I was raised on the ocean, and I’m attracted in a big way to water, so in San Francisco, I just turn out of the hotel, go down Market Street, head to the water, go right or left on the Embarcadero, and bang out an hour.”
As pleasant as the conditions were Thursday afternoon in San Francisco - sunny, with temperatures in the 60s - Brown is no fair weather runner. Rain or shine, snow or sleet, he said, there’s a habit with important holistic value that needs to be maintained.
“It just gives me peace of mind. I feel more purposeful, I feel healthier, I feel clearer in my head. It equals enjoying, in a sort of more aware way, coaching the game. I just feel on top of things more when I feel healthy.”