Coach Mike Brown, the Golden State Warriors’ Associate Head Coach has agreed to coach Nigeria’s men’s basketball team, D’Tigers, after agreeing to terms with the federation.
Nigeria national basketball team is heading to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics for their third straight appearance after dominating the game in Africa.
Nigeria Basketball Federation president Musa Kida had been seeking a high-profile veteran coach with an NBA background, a source said, according to media reports.
Brown has an impressive record having served as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers, where he coached the likes of Lebron James, Stephen Curry, the late Kobe Bryant, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Andre Iguodala amongst other stars.
Brown, 49, is in his fourth season as associate head coach for the Warriors. Golden State has won two NBA championships and advanced to the NBA Finals three times during his time with the franchise. Brown also once led the Warriors to a 11-0 record during the 2016-17 NBA playoffs while head coach Steve Kerr was absent for health reasons.
Brown was the head coach of the Cavaliers from 2005 to 2010 and also the 2013-14 season, and led the Lakers in 2011-12. The 2009 NBA Coach of the Year led James and the Cavaliers to the franchise’s first NBA Finals appearance in 2007.
Brown has a career NBA head-coaching record of 347-216 over eight seasons. The former University of San Diego guard also has served as an assistant coach for the Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs and Washington Wizards. Brown ranks eighth in NBA history among coaches in win percentage with over 500 games coached at .616.
Brown has previous basketball experience on the international level. He served as an assistant coach to Mark Few on the United States’ bronze-medal-winning team at the 2015 Pan American Games. He was also a scout for USA Basketball’s 2019 World Cup team.
“I’m honored and humbled that Musa Kida and the Nigerian Basketball Federation have given me this opportunity,” Brown said. “The Nigerian Basketball Federation has been very professional and organized throughout the vetting process. They want to continue to build a world-class team and organization on and off the court. I’m excited to have learned that the Federation’s vision is to provide the team with the necessary resources to compete at the highest level. Their commitment will enable the players and coaches to focus our energy on competing at the highest possible level every time we step on the basketball court. We want to make all of Nigeria proud.”
Nigeria qualified for the 2020 Olympics after beating China in the classification round while also becoming the best-placed African team in the 2019 World Cup. Nigeria’s 2019 World Cup team included current NBA players Al-Farouq Aminu, Chimezie Metu, Josh Okogie and Gabe Vincent. Former NBA players in the team include Ike Diogu, Ekpe Usoh, Ben Uzoh and Louisville junior forward, Jordan Nwora.
Nigeria participated in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics but has yet to medal.
Brown, an African-American, wants to run the D’Tigers in the same fashion as other top national teams.
“The Nigerian Federation leadership team has made it clear to me that they are going to put us in the best possible position to be successful in Tokyo this summer,” Brown said.
Brown plans to hire a full coaching staff, including player development personnel, video personnel, scouts and medical personnel for the Nigerian national team. The Warriors have given Brown their blessing and will allow Nigeria to use its newly renovated East Bay practice facility in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Brown could also potentially add one NBA player to the roster who would be granted a Nigerian passport, according to U.S. based ABC 7 news.