IT was only fitting that Ricardo Brown accepted his Hall of Fame and 25 Greatest Player awards on the same playing floor that served as the site of one of his greatest triumphs as a basketball player.
On Sunday night before a crowd of more than 16,451 at the Araneta Coliseum, the former Great Taste and San Miguel Beer shooting guard was honored by the league as member of the Hall of Fame Class of 2009 and as one of the Greatest Players in the PBA’s first 25 years.
Brown received his Hall of Fame trophy and symbolic jacket from Commissioner Chito Salud.
As the 55-year-old player stood at center court to acknowledge the cheers of the fans, Brown can’t help but look back to 27 years ago when he was in the same playing venue and savoring a championship that’s so very dear to him.
“The championship I remembered the most was 1984 in the third conference against Crispa, because Crispa had beaten us the year before with (Billy Ray) Bates two times,” recalled Brown, clad in a nice barong tagalog over black pants during the short awarding ceremony that was followed by a meet-and-greet session with fans in front of the Big Dome.
Brown, now a middle school principal in a school in Artesia, California, was obviously referring to the memorable 1983 season when the Redmanizers beat the Coffee Makers twice in succession – Reinforced and Open conference – on the way to completing a historic second Grand Slam.
But Brown and the rest of the Jeff Collins-reinforced Great Taste team atoned for those painful defeats by defeating the Redmanizers in the deciding Game Five of the season-ending conference.
“That was very, very gratifying,” said Brown of the experience. “Not only because it was our second championship in a row, but also defeating the team that had beaten us twice before.
“And Crispa was just an extremely special, special opponent.”
Brown, the 1983 Rookie of the Year, 1985 MVP and four-time member of the Mythical Five selection, did the ceremonial jump ball for the B-Meg-Barangay Ginebra game in the main event of the PBA Governors Cup doubleheader.
In his eight-year PBA career, Brown won seven championships – four with Great Taste (1983-87) and a rare Grand Slam with San Miguel (1989). To this day, he remains as the player with the all-time best scoring average of 23.1 points and all-time best assist average per game of 7.3, while amassing 7,851 points (27th) and 2,480 assists (12th).
He is set to leave for the US this Tuesday.