Leave Kwame Brown alone

Just leave Kwame Brown alone, already.
Just leave Kwame Brown alone, already.
Image: Getty Images

When you poke the bear, you best be ready for the consequences. And Kwame Brown is a 6-foot-11, 290-pound bear that was in hibernation until his rest was disturbed by two of his former teammates.

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People need to leave Kwame Brown alone.

While the NBA was front-and-center as the Play-In Tournament was taking place, it took a midweek all-time great shot by LeBron James to overtake the discussion around Brown in NBA circles. That’s how out of hand this entire situation has gotten due to social media, and Brown having an abundance of free time on his hands and nothing to lose. Unlike Paul Pierce, when Brown goes live on Instagram there won’t be any consequences for his actions. He can be as unfiltered as he wants to be, which is something that Matt Barnes, Gilbert Arenas, and Stephen Jackson can’t do due to their podcasts and TV obligations. They’re allowed to push the envelope, but they ultimately have to answer to someone — Brown doesn’t.

People need to leave Kwame Brown alone.

The former No. 1 pick from the 2001 NBA Draft who played 12 seasons and made over $60 million is the reason why labeling a pro athlete a “bust” is something we should retire. It’s like ridiculing a sommelier for getting the year wrong on a Bordeaux while you have the palate of someone that thinks Two-Buck Chuck from Trader Joe’s is classy.

People need to leave Kwame Brown alone.

In the last few days, Brown has been relentless in his attacks at anybody who mentions him. Stephen A. Smith will probably never say his name again, as the Breakfast Club has even caught a few strays. We’ve seen Jackson try to take things a little too personal, and Barnes has even challenged the big man to a boxing match. Things have gone off the rails.

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People need to leave Kwame Brown alone.

I’m not here to say that I agree with all the things Brown has said and done to defend himself in this situation. And I’m not here to tell grown men how they should resolve a matter that’s gotten to this level. But, what I do want to do is point to something that hasn’t been discussed enough, which is how important team selection is to the perception of an athlete’s career. For instance, what would have happened if one of the other 29 teams in the NFL had drafted Tom Brady? Would he still be “Tom Brady?” Those same questions can be used in this scenario, especially with the players involved. Because if Brown would have been drafted 18 spots later by Portland, where they took a freshman who was basically the same age as Brown in Zach Randolph, then maybe Brown’s career has a different trajectory and he’s a two-time All-Star.

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The same could be said for Gilbert Arenas’ time in Washington where he was allowed to lead a franchise, Jackson’s career in San Antonio where he was an important piece to a championship team, and Barnes’ first stint with Golden State as he was essential to the “We Believe Warriors.” All of those teams changed the shape of their careers, which then changed their status and how they’re viewed. Kwame Brown never got those opportunities.

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This drama-filled situation has been hilarious, yet concerning at times, and fascinating to watch. And in a time in which we’re still somewhat socially distanced, it’s played out on the internet for the world to see as if it were a schoolyard confrontation on the playground. I’ve been a witness to countless situations like this. And most of the time — by the end — the person that was picked on in the first place, walked away making sure it never happened again.

People need to leave Kwame Brown alone.

Saginaw Native. Morehouse Man. Syracuse (Newhouse) Alum. 2019 & 2020 NABJ Award Winner. 2016 PABJ Journalist of the Year. I only eat my wings lemon-peppered. And I like brown liquor & brown women.