Mike Brown Has More Pressure to Succeed with Kobe Bryant Than with LeBron James

Have you seen the latest addition to Staples Center in Los Angeles? It’s a microscope with a state-of-the-art lens strong enough to see the smallest of imperfections in an NBA head coach. It’s positioned high above the rafters and is pointed directly at the seat where new Lakers coach Mike Brown will eventually sit if and when the 2011-12 season begins.

All I can say is good luck, my friend. You’ll need it.

You’ve all heard the expression about “entering the lion’s den”? Mike Brown’s new “den” is filled with enough lions, tigers and bears to shock even the Wicked Witch of the West into submission. If he thought there was pressure in Cleveland when he coached LeBron James, he is about to find out what real pressure really is when he starts in with Kobe Bryant and the rest of the Lakers.

Brown’s tenure in Cleveland was filled with pressure, but nothing compared to the glare of the Hollywood lights at Staples.

Coaching LeBron was not easy. At times, it appeared LeBron was the de facto coach, in that LeBron was a one-man offensive show.

After Cleveland lost in the 2010 Eastern Conference finals to Boston—a series in which LeBron seemed to “check out”—Brown was unceremoniously let go. It seemed LeBron had, after five seasons, given up on the team and lost the passion to play for his coach.

Ownership felt that firing Brown might be a way to keep LeBron in Cleveland and sign a long-term contract after becoming a free agent. We know how that story ended.

Kobe Bryant doesn’t have the luxury of five seasons to get acquainted with the new coach. Brown will be under much more pressure to succeed with Bryant than he was with LeBron at Cleveland.

Bryant has not publicly endorsed the hiring of Brown. Sources close to the player say he was “surprised” by the choice and t...

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