WASHINGTON - You can sit down and talk basketball with Brett Brown 24/7 without hesitation. But the 76ers coach doesn't prefer to do that. Though basketball is his livelihood, he is a well-traveled man who graduated from Boston University and is very informed about all sorts of subjects.
He feels a real importance to interact with his young team on other things besides the game they play for a living. It's why the team organized a trip to the White House on Tuesday.
Before last night's game against the Wizards in the nation's capital, players and others from the organization on the tour showed off cellphone pictures of what they saw the day before.
"They navigated through that environment with class," Brown said. "They weren't all on cellphones and texting, and they asked good questions to the people that led us around. They asked educated questions, and . . . you go through and you're just kind of blown away with the historical perspective and the people that have been in the rooms that we were going through.
"If we've had 100 meetings this year, film meetings to start practice or whatever, I'm saying 80 to 85 of them start with something that's going on in the world. I'm interested in a lot of things. I think to educate our guys to what's going on overseas, or what's going on domestically or pick some type of social issue that inspires debate, interests me. I have these guys all over the place that you feel a responsibility to educate, not just a pick-and-roll defense or transition defense. I like talking with them. I like listening to them.
"So to go to the White House and understand really a historical perspective is interesting. I'm glad to grow these guys off the court, as well as try to help them develop skill packages on the court."
Veteran Jason Richardson is totally on board. As the veteran on such a young team, he knows and agrees with Brown's thinking.
"It's good, because there are so many other things in life than basketball," Richardson said. "I can remember being that age and the only thing in life that concerned you was basketball. You didn't care about what was going on in the world, what was going on in America. But having that little 5 minutes before practice and before shootarounds keeps guys aware of what's going on around the world, and that basketball is the smaller picture. There's a big picture that everybody needs to see.
"It's more the norm to have coaches who talk all the time about basketball. But, at the same time, you have to have breaks here and there from basketball and talk about things outside basketball. There is life after basketball."
A picture made its way onto Instagram that showed Nerlens Noel without his familiar flat top. Many thought Noel had gotten the familiar locks cut off. Turns out it was just an April Fools' joke, with someone else's hair Photoshopped in.