Wizards Notebook

Commissioner Weighs In On Brown's Suspension

By Michael Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 11, 2005

MIAMI, May 10 -- NBA Commissioner David Stern said Tuesday that Washington Wizards forward Kwame Brown's season-ending suspension doesn't affirm his efforts for a 20-year-old minimum age requirement, but it doesn't contradict it either.

"It's just that he's a particular case; I wouldn't generalize with him," Stern said, speaking before Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. "I do think that there were outside expectations placed on young men and I think that can contribute, sometimes, to their development or non-development."

Stern said the expectations for Brown may have been higher than most, since he was the first high school player drafted No. 1 overall. "He was the first pick of the draft; that puts extraordinary pressure on people," Stern said. "Some people can react better."

He said an age limit would "allow kids another reason to have another year or two to grow, to deal with the stress, the discipline and, really, the life experience that would be helpful. I'd like to think that somebody would react better at 20 than 19."

Laettner, on Brown

Former Wizards forward Christian Laettner, now a reserve with the Miami Heat, said he hoped to obtain Brown's telephone number to reach out to him. Laettner spent three seasons with the Wizards. "Even though he made a mistake or whatever. Just hang in there," Laettner said. "Be persistent and he'll still be a good player in this league. A lot of things. Just continue to work at it. Don't get yourself in trouble where you can't be on the team through the playoffs." Laettner said Brown still has time to mature and grow in this league. "What is this, his fourth year?" Laettner said. "So, he's still just a senior in college. And, he's still young for the NBA."

Laettner, on Wizards

Laettner, who was traded along with Jerry Stackhouse to Dallas as part of the deal that landed Antawn Jamison last summer, added that he wasn't surprised that the Wizards were able to advance to the second round. "Not at all," he said. "They've got a great group of guys on that team. They've got good role players and Eddie [Jordan's] a pretty good coach, so no, it's not surprising. . . . Another year of experience, another year under Eddie Jordan's system. They're doing better with it. They're having more success."

Arenas's Lucky Charm

Guard Gilbert Arenas thought he brought along a lucky charm on the road in his father, Gilbert Sr. Arenas said the Wizards went 15-0 in games attended by his father, including Game 5 in Chicago during the Wizards' first-round series against the Bulls. Arenas Sr. also was at MCI Center for the series-clinching triumph in Game 6.

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