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NBA Finals notebook

Brown floats an idea

He's hoping to be next in the parade

By Marc J. Spears
Globe Staff / June 10, 2009
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ORLANDO, Fla. - Lakers guard Shannon Brown is hoping to be the grand marshal in a parade in Maywood, Ill., just as Celtics coach Doc Rivers was last year.

Proviso East High's storied basketball program has produced three NBA champions in Rivers, San Antonio's Michael Finley in 2007, and the Lakers' Jim Brewer in 1982. Brown can make it three straight years for Proviso East if the Lakers beat Orlando. Brown attended the parade in Maywood in Rivers's honor last summer.

"We went all around Maywood and ended up around East," said Brown yesterday. "Everyone came up there. I was on the float with the basketball alumni. It was a good thing.

"The year before, 'Fin' brought it back home. They didn't have a parade for him, but he won a championship. Now it's my turn."

Said Rivers via text message: "Next year I'm hoping for a Proviso East Finals."

Proviso East has produced nine NBA players, and the program is highlighted in a documentary, "Proviso Pride." The school has a long list of famous alums - among them eight NFL players, including Hall of Famer Ray Nitschke, four Major League Baseball players, actor Dennis Franz, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter John Prine, and BET cofounder Sheila Johnson.

While Rivers, 47, is 24 years old than Brown, Brown said he heard a lot of stories about Rivers's days at Proviso East.

"My Pop kind of came up under his Dad as police officers," said Brown. "I always heard about Doc. But in my era, with me coming up, it was more like Mike Finley, [ex-NBA players] Donnie Boyce and Sherell Ford. That's who I knew about first, and then they started teaching me the history about Doc Rivers, Jim Brewer, guys like that."

After being drafted 25th overall by the Cavaliers in 2006, Brown played sparingly with Cleveland, Chicago, and Charlotte before being traded to the Lakers, along with Adam Morrison, Feb. 7 for Vladimir Radmanovic. But with the Lakers, the 6-foot-4-inch, 211-pounder has found a role as a backup point guard. Brown will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

"I'm happy," Brown said. "From the moment I've stepped in here, the guys have made me feel welcomed. I knew we could do something special."

Snag at the net
Magic guard Courtney Lee's potential winning alley-oop attempt at the buzzer in regulation of Sunday's 101-96 loss appeared to be goaltended by Lakers forward Pau Gasol, though it wasn't called.

While Lakers coach Phil Jackson acknowledged that Gasol might have goaltended, he believes other fingers could be pointed, too, and said, "According to the rule, the correct call wasn't made. He got his hand caught in the rim, no doubt about it.

"It's called 'basket interference.' Even if you hit the net supposedly in the process, that's part of it, but that rule is kind of archaic. It isn't called in this day and age as much, but when we were in high school . . . that was something a high school ref might call basket interference."

When told of Jackson's comments, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said, "I'm not going to get into calls. Calls didn't decide this game."

Lee has been receiving some heat in the media for missing the shot, but not from Van Gundy. "The shot wasn't an easy shot, OK?" Van Guny said. "It was certainly a good opportunity with six-10ths of a second to go. You're just hoping to get an opportunity, and we got one."

Thibodeau to stay
Rivers said Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau took his name out of the running for the Kings head coaching job and will be back with Boston next season. Thibodeau also interviewed for the Sixers job, which was given recently to Eddie Jordan. Yahoo Sports reported that the Kings hired NBA veteran Paul Westphal as coach.

Marc J. Spears can be reached at mspears@globe.com.

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