Kwame Brown

Kwame Brown

Kwame James Brown (born March 10, 1982 in Charleston, South Carolina) is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for the Detroit Pistons. The , center was the 1st overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards, and was the first number one draft pick to be selected straight out of high school. He has also played for the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies.

High school

Brown was consistently rated as the "best high school player" in his class, which also included high school standouts Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler. He was the high school player of the year as a senior in Georgia. Brown finished his high school career at the historic Glynn Academy (in Brunswick, Georgia) as the school's all-time leading rebounder (1,235) and shot-blocker (605), and also finished second all-time as a scorer and he was named to the 2001 McDonald's All-American Team.

NBA career

Washington Wizards

Originally signing a letter of intent to play for the University of Florida, he later declared for the 2001 NBA Draft. The Washington Wizards, under team president Michael Jordan, decided to use their first overall pick on him, becoming the first team to ever select a high-school prospect with the first overall pick. Additionally, the expectations upon Brown were increased by the fact that Jordan, acclaimed as the greatest basketball player ever, had chosen him. Following a pre-draft workout with the Wizards, it has been reported that Brown told then-Wizards coach Doug Collins "if you draft me, you'll never regret it.

Perhaps as a result of hype and high expectations, Brown's rookie season was marred with a lack of maturity as well as criticism from both the media and Jordan. In his rookie year, Brown averaged 4.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game and was already predicted to be a draft bust.

However, the Wizards believed in Brown's potential. In his second season as a professional, Brown saw more action in the league. He started 20 out of the 80 games he played and the total minutes he played doubled. Brown improved his numbers, posting averages of 7.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. In his third season, Brown continued to improve, posting career highs in both points (10.9) and rebounds (7.4). He also demonstrated his great potential during a game against the Sacramento Kings, during which he registered 30 points and 19 rebounds.

Controversy

After his first three years in Washington, Brown's future with the Wizards appeared dubious, as he rejected a five-year, $30 million contract offer, electing instead to test the free-agent market when his contract expired after the season. In his fourth season, Brown took a noticeable step back in his development and was limited to 42 games due to injuries. His highest-scoring game of the season was only 19 points, compared to his season-high of 30 the year before, and he averaged just 7.0 points per game. Late in the season, criticism increased; he feuded with Gilbert Arenas, other teammates, and his coach Eddie Jordan. The local press did little to help the situation, and he became even less popular with fans.

During the first round of the 2005 playoffs, in which they played against the Chicago Bulls, the Wizards played a video before their first game of the series, in which Arenas instructed the fans not to boo Brown when he entered the game. The fans complied, even though Brown played only four minutes in the game. In the next several days after the game, Brown skipped a practice and a shootaround, as well as the next game, claiming that he thought he would punch Arenas if he entered the game. He skipped another practice with a supposed stomach ailment, only to be seen later that night at a Chinese eatery. The Wizards responded by suspending Brown for the rest of the playoffs.

Los Angeles Lakers

On August 2, 2005, Brown and Laron Profit were traded to the Lakers in exchange for Caron Butler and Chucky Atkins. This move was met with some controversy from fans who disliked Brown's reputation and his label as an "under-achiever." In the beginning of the season, he averaged just above 6 points and 6 rebounds.

On December 26, 2005, he played his first game at the Washington Wizards' MCI Center (now known as Verizon Center) as a Laker. The sold-out crowd of 20,173 fans loudly booed him upon entering the game and whenever he touched the ball. In the second quarter, Brown was looking the other way when teammate Saša Vujačić threw a pass his way. The ball bounced off his head and landed out of bounds, which was met with loud cheers from the crowd. Brown called the reception "weak" and stated that "they should be cheering that I'm gone." The Wizards won the game 94-91.

When Lakers center Chris Mihm went down with a season-ending ankle injury on March 12, 2006, Brown took over the starting center position. During his stint as a center, he raised his averages from 6.1 points and 6.3 rebounds to 12.3 points and 9.1 rebounds and started every game for the Lakers in the playoffs. Surprisingly, Kwame Brown became a central part of the Lakers seven-game series with the Phoenix Suns. Although they ended up losing the series, it had appeared that Kwame Brown's potential was beginning to show. The surprising consistency Brown showed while playing center prompted Phil Jackson to make Brown the starting center in the 2006-2007 season. Brown was injured at the beginning of the season and Mihm was also out with injury for the whole season, so the starting job at center was given to the young Andrew Bynum. After playing the majority of the minutes at center despite the bench role, he was given the starting job in early December. Brown again became injured in the 2007-08 season which allowed Bynum to start again at the center position where he has now flourished. However, when Bynum suffered a knee injury that appeared to jeopardize the Lakers' playoff chances, Brown regained his starting position. As a starter, Brown disappointed many fans with his lackluster performance and apparent lack of focus during games, highlighted by one game where he missed an open dunk and registered more turnovers (7) than rebounds (6) en route to a Lakers loss. Though Kobe Bryant stuck by his teammate after the game and rebuked Lakers fans who booed Brown, it increasingly appeared that the chances that Brown would recognize his potential were diminishing and with them the Lakers' chances of making the playoffs that year.

Memphis Grizzlies

On February 1, 2008, Brown was traded along with Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, the draft rights to Marc Gasol, and the Lakers' 2008 and 2010 first-round draft picks for Pau Gasol and a second-round pick in 2010. The trade was widely seen around the league as a steal for the Lakers, as they were able to obtain the star Gasol for the maligned Brown. The trade helped vault the Lakers to the first seed in the Western Conference by the end of the season, while doing little to help the already struggling Grizzlies. On July 1, 2008, the Memphis Grizzlies chose not to sign Kwame Brown to a new contract, making him an unrestricted free agent.

Detroit Pistons

On July 28, 2008, ESPN.com reported that the Detroit Pistons signed Brown to a 2-year deal worth $8 million. The second year is a player option.

Personal

Rape accusation

Brown was under a Los Angeles Police Department investigation of a rape allegation in 2006. A woman reported that Brown sexually assaulted her after Game 3 first round of the Western Conference Playoffs against the Phoenix Suns. He was cleared of all charges by the Los Angeles District Attorney's office on July 11, 2006.

Cake incident

According to a police report, on the night of Saturday, January 13, 2007, Kwame Brown was accused by a man of throwing a cake at him. The man said that as he was carrying the 2 x 2 foot chocolate cake down the street in Hermosa Beach, California, he spotted Brown's Lakers teammate Ronny Turiaf who agreed to pose for a photograph with him. The Lakers had been out celebrating Turiaf's birthday when Brown then arrived on the scene, who grabbed away the cake and threw it back at the man. The man offered no reason for the cake throw in the report. It was said Brown was actually attempting to throw it at Turiaf as a joke, believing the cake belonged to him but missed. They then dispersed, with Brown departing in a limousine. A "grand theft of a person" case was presented by detectives to the city attorney's office, but Brown was not prosecuted. Brown later compensated the man by buying him dinner at the Arena Club at the Staples Center.

2007 arrest

Early on Saturday, September 29, 2007, Brown was arrested after his cousin Charles Warren Jr. was pulled over by police and charged in Valdosta, Georgia after being caught driving the opposite direction down a one-way street. A police spokesperson said that during the investigation, Brown told police the car belonged to him and that he was not in the vehicle at the time of the incident. He became disruptive and tried to interfere with the inquiry. Brown was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and interfering with a police investigation.

NBA career statistics

Regular season

|- | align="left" | 2001–02 | align="left" | Washington | 57 || 3 || 14.3 || .387 || .000 || .707 || 3.5 || .8 || .3 || .5 || 4.5 |- | align="left" | 2002–03 | align="left" | Washington | 80 || 20 || 22.2 || .446 || .000 || .668 || 5.3 || .7 || .6 || 1.0 || 7.4 |- | align="left" | 2003–04 | align="left" | Washington | 74 || 57 || 30.3 || .489 || .500 || .683 || 7.4 || 1.5 || .9 || .7 || 10.9 |- | align="left" | 2004–05 | align="left" | Washington | 42 || 14 || 21.6 || .460 || .000 || .574 || 4.9 || .9 || .6 || .4 || 7.0 |- | align="left" | 2005–06 | align="left" | LA Lakers | 72 || 49 || 27.5 || .526 || .000 || .545 || 6.6 || 1.0 || .4 || .6 || 7.4 |- | align="left" | 2006–07 | align="left" | LA Lakers | 41 || 28 || 27.6 || .591 || .000 || .440 || 6.0 || 1.8 || .9 || 1.2 || 8.4 |- | align="left" | 2007–08 | align="left" | LA Lakers | 23 || 14 || 22.1 || .515 || .000 || .406 || 5.7 || 1.2 || .7 || .8 || 5.7 |- | align="left" | 2007–08 | align="left" | Memphis | 15 || 1 || 13.6 || .487 || .000 || .412 || 3.8 || 1.1 || .4 || .3 || 3.5 |- | align="left" | Career | align="left" | | 404 || 186 || 23.7 || .484 || .125 || .597 || 5.7 || 1.1 || .6 || .7 || 7.2 |}

Playoffs

|- | align="left" | 2004–05 | align="left" | Washington | 3 || 0 || 20.0 || .385 || .000 || .556 || 5.0 || 1.0 || .0 || .7 || 5.0 |- | align="left" | 2005–06 | align="left" | LA Lakers | 7 || 7 || 32.1 || .523 || .000 || .710 || 6.6 || 1.0 || .3 || .9 || 12.9 |- | align="left" | 2006–07 | align="left" | LA Lakers | 5 || 5 || 26.6 || .528 || .000 || .556 || 5.6 || .2 || .2 || .8 || 8.6 |- | align="left" | Career | align="left" | | 15 || 12 || 27.9 || .509 || .000 || .653 || 5.9 || .7 || .2 || .8 || 9.9 |}

References

External links

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