Jerry Brown is the head coach of the Intramural League team Hit Squad.
Before Brown arrived, the team was a group of players that didn’t have any direction. After he agreed to coach the team, he taught them the fundamentals of playing a 2-3 zone defense. He also taught the team basic dribbling and passing drills, as well as in- fusing his decades of experience with local Oakland players (some who have went on to play professional) and AAU.
Brown is 52 years old, and in December 2009, he was sentenced to 44 years to life for kidnapping, of which he’s served ten years.
AT: How long have you been involved with organized sports?
JB: I’ve been coaching for 30 years. I’ve been involved with sports all my life.
AT: Is it just basketball?
JB: Yeah, just basketball.
AT: Where does the love of
the game come from?
JB: It comes from being a part of the game for so long. I have a son that played pro (Jerry Brown Jr., Fresno State 2010-13; played with NBA star Paul George).
I’m looking for cohesive- ness in anything I approach, and that includes basketball as well as life. I like to bring players together to learn the system, but that involves buying into the basketball philosophy and building unity.
AT: Your intramural team, Hit Squad; How did you get them to buy into coming to practice so that they would improve?
JB: It was me using the love of the game as well as their love of the game. They wanted it, but didn’t know how to play it right. I had guys that wanted to learn and that’s was key.
AT: Any educational pursuits since you’ve been incarcerated?
JB: I have a business certificate from Coastline College, 70 units of coastline. I need two math classes for an AA from coastline, and I’m taking English 99b in Patton right now.
AT: Any self-groups?
JB: Elite and Criminals and Gangsters Anonymous; Alter- natives to Violence Program & Cage Your Rage.
AT: So, you get to choose your all time all-star NBA team, but here’s the twist: You pick one team that represents 1970-95; then, pick a team that plays them that represents 1996-2019…
JB: Okay, team of OG’s are PG: Earl the Pearl Monroe; SG: Rick Barry; SF: Julius Erving; PF: Wes Unseld; C: Kareem. Off the bench, I have Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, David Thompson, George Gervin, Pistol Pete,
Bob Cousy & Dennis Johnson.
My YG’s are going to be PG: Michael Jordan SG: Scottie Pippen SF: LeBron James
PF: Karl Malone C: Olajuwon and on the bench are Pat- rick Ewing, Steph Curry, John Stockton, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Kevin Durant & Allen Iverson.
AT: You’re sitting in a room by yourself, and you journey back in time and see yourself at 13 years old; what one sentence do you tell yourself at 13 to prepare you for the future?
JB: “Seek a higher education.”
AT: What’s the one thing about basketball that transfers over to everyday life experience that you teach the people that you coach?
JB: Trust. I teach them to trust in your teammates and that transfers over to trust in family because teammates become family.
AT: I want to thank you for taking time for this interview. What’s one thing you want to close out with?
JB: I just want the players to know to respect the game. If you truly love it, play the game right. Play it with passion, honor and integrity. Just play the game the way it’s meant to be played. Channel that negative emotion into a positive place and elevate.