"When I first came overseas, I went to Russia, it was actually UNICS. I don’t know why but I failed a physical. There was something going on inside my body. They kind of told me I would never play ball again. They were like, ‘you might want to go back home and get checked out,’ “ Brown recalled.
“So I go home and I’m sitting there for a month or two. And I’m just sitting, I’m depressed. I’m like, ‘what am I gonna do now? ’ I’m like 25 maybe, 26. And I’m never gonna play basketball again.
“Long story short, it wasn’t what they were saying it was. And I ended up getting another job in China for two months and went on from there."
That was in November 2016. Brown ended up back in North America and split the next two seasons between Toronto in the NBA and Raptors 905 in the G-League. After that, he decided to give Europe one more shot and that changed his career forever.
Brown signed with Crvena Zvezda Belgrade for the 2019-20 season and, though he had an idea of what to expect, he was blown away by the crowd from the start.
"Quincy Miller played in Red Star probably two years prior, and I’d seen a clip. And everybody is just yelling, they’re chanting. I’m just in awe at the situation. My first game is the same way. Every game is like that. So I’m just like, ‘yeah, I’m gonna love it here.’”
After that Brown spent a season with Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul and another with UNICS Kazan. In that time, he emerged as one of the top guards on the continent. Croatia had shown interest in naturalizing Brown to play for its national team, but he instead took Spanish citizenship and competed for that country at EuroBasket 2022 where he was a teammate of EuroLeague stars he had played against for years.
"They showed me a picture and it was like all of them and they were sitting on a bus and they were like 12 [years old]. And I’m like, y’all have been playing together this long? And they’re like yeah, we’ve been at this for like plus amount of years. I’m like, okay, this is really it for y’all then, y’all want this this bad. It took me a while to click in and grasp what they were feeling."
Brown was a dominant force when Spain needed him; he averaged 20.3 points, 9 assists and 1.5 steals in the elimination games and was named to the all-tournament team. Then he started the season in Tel Aviv – his fourth home in as many seasons in the EuroLeague.
With Maccabi, Brown has emerged as a team leader and he has the club knocking on the door of the playoffs and that's where he hopes to be over the next few years as this summer, for the first time in his career, Brown will head home to the United States knowing exactly where he is coming back to for the start of the next season.
With a one-hour format of exclusive one-on-one interviews, The Crossover with Joe Arlauckas goes well beyond the playing court with each podcast to delve into the life experiences that have made his guests protagonists and legends of the EuroLeague. The Crossover debuted in 2018 and has featured such current stars as Mike James, Nicolo Melli and Vasilije Micic, coaching greats such as Georgios Bartzokas, Dimitris Itoudis and Zeljko Obradovic, and legends like Theo Papaloukas, Nikola Vujcic and Mike Batiste, among others.
The Crossover with Joe Arlauckas is available on Youtube, iTunes, Audioboom, Spotify, Deezer, RadioPublic, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, Stitcher, CastBox, iVoox and other platforms.