Chucky Brown's Return is Worthy of Celebration
March 1, 2002
By GREG BEACHAM AP Sports Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - The Chucky Brown Fan Club is preparing for a night to remember.
The devoted, quixotic supporters of the NBA's most traveled player are hard at work in the San Francisco Bay area, buying tickets, calling friends, making signs - and, of course, baking a big batch of Chucky Brownies.
Earlier this week, their hero signed a 10-day contract with the Sacramento Kings, joining his record 12th franchise during a 13-year career most notable for a championship ring and the pro sports record for impermanence.
But as fate would have it, the Kings will visit the Golden State Warriors on Friday night - which also happens to be Brown's 34th birthday. For the fans of a player who has worn nearly half of the NBA's uniforms, the stars don't often align so splendidly.
"I know they'll be out there, having fun," Brown said. "I can't wait to see them."
Brown, a 6-foot-8 forward out of NC State, has spent a career bouncing across the transaction wire, moving from city to city in a failed effort to find a permanent home. But Brown hasn't given up hope or lost his sense of humor about his unique experience in the game.
"I'm just glad to still be here," Brown said. "I know a lot of guys weren't as lucky as me."
And Brown isn't alone. His fan club, which is centered around a hilariously straight-faced Web site featuring everything from opinion columns to the recipe for Chucky Brownies, is orchestrated by Gerard Choucroun, a social worker, researcher and musician who lives in the Bay Area.
"We recognize basketball talent when we see it," he said. "Chucky is very sound, hard-working and team-oriented. That's what we're a fan of, maybe even more than Chucky - what Chucky represents.
Brown has been out of the league since playing 26 games for Golden State and Cleveland last season. He also has played for Houston - where he was a member of the 1995 championship team - the Los Angeles Lakers, New Jersey, Dallas, Phoenix, Milwaukee, Atlanta, Charlotte and San Antonio.
Memphis' Tony Massenburg has had 11 stints with 10 teams, while Brown has had 13 stints with 12 teams. In signing with Sacramento, Brown also tied Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Morgan for appearances with the most teams in any major professional American sport - not that he's keeping track of such things.
"It's cool, and I'll take it," Brown said. "I'm still having fun, so that's the important thing."
So is the CBFC, as members know the club. It unofficially began in Houston in 1995, when Brown arrived with the Rockets as a midseason acquisition. The fans don't think it was any coincidence that Houston subsequently began its transformation from a struggling contender to a two-time NBA champion.
"Chucky's influence was very palpable," Choucroun said. "It wasn't like being a member of the Chucky Brown Fan Club was anything rare in Houston. The whole city was the fan club."
As Brown wound his way through the NBA with a series of signings, trades and releases, the fans followed his every move. As the Website says, they had "come to the undisputable conclusion that Chucky Brown is the finest basketball player ever to play the sport."
Much of the fan club is now based in Northern California, though it boasts membership throughout the nation. The group was overjoyed when Golden State signed Brown last season - but crushed when the Warriors let him go.
"For us, it was nice when Chucky was with the Warriors, but I'm sure it wasn't great for him," Choucroun said. "He deserves better than those guys. Sacramento is a great place for him."
After Cleveland didn't invite him back this season, Brown returned to his North Carolina home and stayed in shape with workouts and pickup games. He waited for the annual calls from NBA teams, but when none had inquired by mid-February, he began to consider playing in Italy - until the Kings called with their offer.
"I got the call at 3 p.m., and they asked if I could make a flight at 6," Brown recalled of Monday's conversation. "I said, 'I'm making that flight."'
Brown missed a connecting flight and didn't get to Sacramento until Tuesday, but he still debuted with the Kings in their blowout victory over Utah. Wearing a black headband, Brown got two rebounds and scored one basket in five minutes of garbage time, much to the delight of a cheering Arco Arena crowd.
"That ovation made me feel great," Brown said. "I couldn't believe they knew
who I was. It shows they know a lot about basketball if they remember my