Marcus Brown retired from professional basketball this week as the Euroleague’s modern-era top scorer (with 2,715 total points to his name) and with a CV of success the envy of many. After getting drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in 1996 and playing sparingly there for a season, Brown jumped the puddle to embark on a 12-year European career that saw him play for eight teams in seven countries – and bring hardware home to most of them.
Though a Euroleague championship would elude him, Brown’s aforementioned career résumé includes nine domestic titles, three EL Final Four appearances, four national cup wins, a Korac Cup title, and three Baltic Basketball League championships. Personal accolades include six domestic-league MVP nods, one EL first-team and two second-team inclusions, and two domestic-league final MVP awards.
Today, BallinEurope pays tribute to Brown the best way possible: With YouTube clips!
• Brown began his winning ways early in his European career; after playing a bit in 1998 with Pau-Orthez and a brief sojourn with the Vancouver Grizzlies in which he didn’t see one minute of playing time and a tiny bit with the Detroit Pistons, he jumped to CSP Limoges for 1999-2000. That team bagged the French championship as well as the Korac Cup, for which they upended a future Brown side in Unicaja Malaga. In that competition, Brown was good for 56.8% overall shooting (including 52.9% on threes) for 20.9 points to go along with 2.1 steals per game over 10 games. The big league’s official website recognizes this win as “[Brown’s] only Continental title.”
• As the following YouTube title christens him, “The Legend of European Basketball” was a near-constant presence in the Euroleague shortly thereafter. First moving to Benetton Treviso and later Efes Pilsen, Brown landed with CSKA Moscow in 2003. He’d stay until 2005 and appear in back-to-back EL Final Four tournaments.
Here’s a look at Brown’s play from 2003 through 2008, the latter representing his first go-around with Žalgiris Kaunas. (Sorry, you’ll have to enjoy in silence; “audio disabled.”)
• Perhaps no other fan base loved Marcus as much as those basketball-rabid backers of Žalgiris Kaunas, and why not? Brown’s play for the Greens alone could fill a full-length highlight clip. (Besides, it seems the appreciation was mutual, as the player noted in his retirement announcement that “I also give a special thanks to what could be the best basketball fans in Europe, BC Žalgiris and all of the Lithuanians.”) Check out his 31-point, career high-tying performance against Virtus Bologna in December 2007.
• Naturally, Brown was named Euroleague Player of the Month for that December…
• In the Top 16 phase that season, Brown couldn’t work miracles for Žalgiris Kaunas, who went 1-5 in the round and was bounced before tournament play. He tried, though, in game one scoring nine points in about one minute of play against Real Madrid.
• In 2008 – and now playing with Maccabi Tel Aviv – Brown passed Luis Scola to become the all-time Euroleague scoring leader; in March 2009, he’d become the first player ever to amass 2,500 EL points. The big-budget Israeli club had quite a nice bunch of names for 2008-09, including Juan Carlos Arroyo, Omri Casspi, young Lior Elihayu and D’Or Fischer in addition to Brown.
• Could Brown continue to come through in that clutch that season? You bet, as evidenced by the following brief videos.
• For 2009-10 and his penultimate season, Brown returned to those “best fans” in Kaunas to play out the remainder of his career. The excitement was surely palpable.
• And Brown wasn’t even done adding to his personal highlight reel; below, he takes apart the CSKA Moscow defense in a December 2009 game from the VTB United League’s inaugural season.
• Brown memorably capped Žalgiris’ 2009-10 Euroleague regular-season play what a what-the-heck last-second three-pointer to close out a win against Fenerbahçe Ülker.
• And who could forget that 2009-10 LKL championship series in which Brown was forced to take on coaching duties…?
In the end, BallinEurope says “Farewell, Marcus (at least until your FIBA Hall of Fame induction) and thanks for the memories!” We’ll always recall you as the guy in Europe for whom “shooting was a mission.”