Ivan "Pick" Brown Tribute Page
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Brown, a talented point guard, and very popular/personable young man,
from Monsignor Bonner High (class of 1986), was shot to death June 4, 2004.
"Pick" also played for St. Joseph's. We welcome comments from those
who knew "Pick" and are saddened over his loss.
Go to bottom of page to read Ted's
story on Pick's passing. (The story was cut
slightly in the Daily News. The full version is posted.) Below that is a story about Pick
from his Bonner days.
Here's a link to an online guest book.
Contributions . . .
I believe that the article will help Pick's family and friends
get through these hard
Pick had worked out Rasheed Jones and Jackie Glacken over the past 2
years. A few times he WALKED from his home in SW Philly to Bonner to
He was extremely proud of playing for Bonner basketball and playing in
the Catholic league.
Pick really enjoyed his time back in Bonner's gym over the past couple
of years. I loved his passion for the game of basketball.
-- Eric "Woody" Burke, Bonner asst.
Thanks for the memories of Pick. As you know I was only a sophomore when he was a senior at Bonner, but he was surely a catalyst to helping our crew win the championship our senior year.
I would be one of the first guys in the gym after school and he always made me play him one on one. I quickly realized that I was only going to score if he let me, and I started to focus on football after those encounters. I was speaking to Brian Daly the other day and thinking how hard it must of been for Ivan to leave SW Philly and come to a school where he did not even know a soul. I could never imagine going to West Catholic, I was nervous going into Bonner. He was special fella that will be sorely missed, due to circumstances that people don't want to think about. Ivan Brown will remain in my mind as a consummate competitor who has gone home too early, and too violently.
My younger brother Joe has been working with me down here in Tampa, and I asked him if he remembered Pick. He was only six back then, and this was his response, "yeah, the guy who jumped over the back board". Pick, always had a knack for pinning almost two shots a game on the backboard, during breakaways.
To my recollection this game was against West Catholic, and the guys from his neighborhood knew of his timing and technique with this type of blocked shot. You could tell by how timid they became when he was trailing them. So the WC player conveniently pumped faked on what otherwise should have been a lay-up. I think Ivan's head hit the soft cushion of the backboard, and his landing would have won any competition for belly flopping, in the world. His fall made the whole gym quiet and you could here a pin drop. Yet he did not miss a play. That was Pick!
-- Danny Summers
Msgr. Bonner (1988)
To Ted . . . my name is Chris Barnes class of 1985 Monsignor Bonner. I
met you a few times personally and your atricle about Pick speaks volumes about him,
he was a good person and a great ball player, which you are already aware of. I played
with Pick and he was my friend, I will miss him and the great smile. THANKS AND THE BROWNS
THANK YOU FOR YOUR ARTICLE. I SPENT 2 HOURS THERE TONITE. PICKLE WAS AND ALWAYS WILL BE A
-- Chris Barnes
When State Senator Williams, from West Philadelphia, called me
Wednesday night in Atlanta, Georiga with the news about Ivan (Pick) Brown's death, I was
in shock. I not only lost a former player, but a young man I considered a SON!
I can visualize Pick and the rest of my Philadelphia Blazers AAU team playing at 48th and Woodland Playground in West Philly. I've coached for 20 years in Georgia, including division one point guards, and Ivan (Pick) Brown was the best Point Guard I've had the privilege to coach. He had the heart of a Lion and was the most unselfish player to wear a Blazer uniform.
I remember we played an 12-14 age group AAU game in Baltimore and Pick was the point guard. We had a big 6-5 center who twisted his ankle and wanted to come out of the game. Pick grabbed him in the collar at the free-throw line and told him he was going to play the fourth quarter. That kid wouldn't come out of the game. We won!
He had a will to win that matched any point guard I've ever been associated with, including Stan Simmons who played for me in Georgia and starred at the University Of North Carolina-Wilmington and is now playing pro ball in Europe.
Ivan you are loved and missed...even 1,000 miles from Philly!!!!
-- Julius Thompson
(Ted's note: Julius is mentioned in the story about Pick at the bottom of this page. He helped to shape him as a player.)
My name is Cary Martin, SJU Class of 90. I was a good friend of Picks
when he was on campus from '86-88, regrettably losing touch after he
moved on from Saint Joes.
I was moved by your story and very appreciative of the way you really
captured his essence. Beyond being an extremely talented basketball
player, first and foremost I think of Pick as a warm-hearted,
fun-loving, good guy and very much the character as you noted. He
always had a smile on his face and treated others with respect and
kindness, even when those attributes werent returned to him in the
early days of Prop 48 and the stigma associated with it. I cant recall
ever hearing him say a bad word about anyone, nor did I ever hear him
complain about his background or circumstances. In my conversations
with Pick about his situation, he expressed that all he ever wanted was
a chance to do his thing and not to be judged by any label be it
his skin color, his basketball skills or his test scores.
Many nights wed spend with my roommate and best friend Bill Warren
(also SJU 90) playing Intellivision basketball or football (remember
Intellivision?), eating Larry's, laughing and telling stories, or going
over to the Fieldhouse for some games of 2-on-1 (which he dominated
despite being outmanned). Perhaps my favorite memory is watching the
news with Pick and his friends in my apartment in December, 1987, hours
after he had hit the game-winning shot against Villanova at DuPont. The
interviewer asked Pick what he was thinking when he took the last shot.
In classic Pick fashion, he flashed a wide grin and replied, When it
kissed the glass, I kissed myself.
That was Pick.
Unique. Personable. Memorable. Fun to be around. And gone far too
The Hawk Will Never Die.
As a Monsignor Bonner player, I want to thank Pick for all he has done for the program and his contributions over the last 20 years. Pick may not be here to receieve our thanks, but he is withotu a doubt with us in spirit. Pick spent many nights with us in the gym practicing and working us hard. He loved the game, and he loved Bonner even more. He worked out with a few of the guys, Jackie Glacken and Phil D, but he always asked myself and anyone else if we would want to go over to St. Joe's to work with him. Not only did Pick want to see us work hard ont he court, he wanted us to represent the name Monsignor Bonner as proud as we could. So not only Should Pick be remembered as a standout Bonner player and friend, he should be remembered as a person who showed all that Bonner is, once you put on that uniform you were part of a family, and we lost a fmaily member but he will never be forgotten.
Kevin Ward, class of 2005
This is Jack Glacken from Bonner class of 2005. I worked out with Pick before the season began last year. I had absolutely zero confidence in my game. I worked out with Pick and when tryouts for the team came around I was playing great, handling the ball and winning all the sprints. All of it was because of Pick. He made me a better player and more then that he improved my work ethic and the person I am. We only worked out for about 2 or 3 months but in that time I felt like we became good freinds because we spent a lot of time talking waiting for my dad to come pick us up. He truely was a good guy. He listened to every word I had to say and wanted to hear all my input. He wouldn't let me give up which while I working out I didn't like to much but I knew he did it because he knew I was good enough. I am real upset about loseing Pick not just because he would of made me an even better player if we had of worked out again, but because I lost a freind.
--Jack Glacken (Bonner, 2005)
PICK'S OBIT . . .
Daily News, June 8, 2004
By Ted Silary
Ivan "Pick" Brown was officially long gone from Hawk Hill, but was still a part of the Saint Joseph's University basketball family.
A few times in each of the past couple of seasons, Brown called coach Phil Martelli looking for tickets. And every so often, Brown would receive permission to use the Fieldhouse to work out assorted young players he was coaching.
The mood was somber at 54th Street and City Avenue yesterday. Brown, a former Hawks guard, was shot to death in the back just before 4:30 a.m. Friday in Southwest Philadelphia, police said. Police said last night they had no suspects and had not determined a motive.
"We were all talking about how rough this would be for Pick's friends and family," Martelli said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with them.
"It's just another example of the senseless stuff that goes on. You see the reports all the time in the paper, or on TV. This guy killed. That got killed. But it's just names. You reach a point where you're immune to it. But then it's a name you KNOW, and it brings it all home. Tragic."
Brown, a point guard of rare skills and court sense, starred at Monsignor Bonner High (Class of 1986). Martelli was an assistant under Jim Boyle when Brown was a senior and the two developed a friendship when Brown joined the Hawks.
"Unfortunately, like a lot of people, Pick was one of the guys I couldn't help with tickets this past season," Martelli said. "I remember being able to help him for La Salle and Temple. But not for Villanova and our last home game with St. Bonaventure. He understood."
In '86, Brown averaged 14.7 points, 7.2 assists and 3.5 steals for the 20-10 Friars and was named a first team Daily News All-City selection.
This paper also picked an All-Scholastic team in that era (best players in five-county area) and Brown was among the top five. The Philly-flavor photo was scheduled for Boathouse Row. The idea was to put the five kids in a boat on the water.
The personable Brown, very much a character, said he was afraid of the water and wasn't going in.
"I'll get in the boat, but we're staying on the DOCK," he said, emphatically, and smiling broadly.
The picture ran in the paper. Five kids in a boat. On a dock.
The Class of 1986 was the first to be affected by what was then called Proposition 48. Athletes needed a minimum SAT score to be eligible as freshmen in Division I. Brown didn't have it.
"I can see the college people wanting to raise the standards," Brown said at the time, while attending three classes each summer day in a demanding program at St. Joe's. "I can see where they don't want guys coming out of college who can't read or write. I could see judging students on their grades, but not on a test like the SAT. This makes it look like I'm incompetent to learn, like I'm stupid. I feel degraded.
"I don't lack intelligence. I just lacked skill in taking that test."
After sitting out one season, Brown became an important player in 1987-88. His highlight came when his last-second, running, 15-footer provided a 53-52 win over Villanova.
He did not remain on Hawk Hill for the 1988-89 school year.
John Miller, the long-time La Salle University women's coach, was Bonner's coach in '86.
"Ivan was a great kid," Miller said. "As a coach, you always feel blessed when your best player is also your hardest worker and most unselfish kid. You just know it's going to make for an enjoyable year.
"When we beat Episcopal in a tournament, Scott Smythe, our little jumpshooter, got the MVP trophy. I happened to look at Ivan when that was being announced. He was the happiest person. I remember telling him later, 'Ivan, that says SO much about you.' "
Miller said he always heard from Brown once a year.
"This last year, it was maybe five times," Miller said. "He brought some of his players to see us play Richmond. He gave me a big hug. I kissed him on the forehead. He had that big Ivan Brown smile he always had. He looked good. Looked happy. He said he'd be coming to more games in the future."
A viewing will be held Saturday, 9 to 11 a.m., at St. Francis DeSales Church, 47th and Springfield. Mass to follow.
STORY ABOUT "PICK"
FROM HIS HIGH SCHOOL CAREER . . .
Jan 28, 1986
By TED SILARY, Daily News Sports Writer
Basketball opponents of Monsignor Bonner , assuming that their ultimate
fate is to lose, are now in position to "pick" their method of doom.
The modus operandi of 6-foot lead guard Ivan "Pick" Brown has not
changed; it has merely undergone alteration, and expansion.
Brown still accounts for 30-odd points a game for the Friars, but no
longer is scoring, say, 14 and dealing eight assists worth 16 more a
Last Friday afternoon, Pick came out of his non-scoring shell with all
the splash of a debutante, netting 24 points, including a game-winning,
left-wing jumper with two seconds remaining, as Bonner earned a 66-64
overtime victory in a Catholic South game at St. Joseph's Prep.
Yesterday, he managed 23 points in a 68-56 non-league win at Cardinal
"The last time I had two straight over 20? We're talking eighth grade,"
Brown said, laughing.
While Brown talked outside the locker room, you can bet that, inside,
his teammates were not complaining about his newly developed penchant
for shooting the ball. As the other Friars know, if Brown is not
contributing heavily, they can pick up their ball and go home.
"Ivan has to try to take at least 15 shots a game," coach John Miller
said. "Just by him penetrating and shooting, it means the defense has to
play all of us. Before, defenses wouldn't honor Ivan (because of his
unselfishness). They'd stay back, slough off.
"It's not that his shot is super, but when he wants to score, he's the
biggest threat in the league. He's a winner. I don't know if fear is the
right word, but everybody has a real big respect for Ivan ."
Brown, who also had four assists and 10 steals against the Cardinals,
is the quintessential modern-day lead guard. He runs the team in perfect
fashion at one end and he runs his opposite number into the floor at the
other. He does everything, asks for nothing.
"He's exactly the way you'd want a player to be," Miller said. "That's
why the other guys are happy to see some attention come his way. A lot
of guys have said to me, 'It's very obvious that your team gets along.'
One of the main reasons is Ivan ."
Brown said he learned to appreciate defense in his days with the
Blazers, a now-defunct independent team coached by former Bulletin
sports writer Julius Thompson. The Blazers traveled often, won often and
always heard Thompson screaming in their ears about defense.
Then, when Brown played junior varsity as a Bonner frosh, his practice
assignment was to stay with Tom Gormley, cast from the same relentless
mold and now starring for Loyola (Md.).
"The way I see it, a team leader has to play defense as well as
offense," Brown said. "The better defense I play, the more I can inspire
my teammates. I like to get a steal and make a pass up ahead that lets
someone have a layup. That makes me feel good.
"I enjoy defense. I pride myself on it. I like to stand up to a
challenge. Trying to stop somebody else . . . well, that's a big one."
It pales in comparison, however, to the challenge Brown faces in the
classroom for the remainder of the school year.
St. Joseph's and La Salle have expressed an interest, but it is touch
and go whether Brown will graduate with a 2.0 grade-point average. Thus,
myriad non-Division I-A schools, including Textile and Kutztown, are
allowing themselves to envision Brown in their lineup.
Not so fast, guys. Brown said it would not bother him at all to sit out
a year at St. Joe's or La Salle.
"It would help me mature, get used to the college atmosphere, develop
better work habits," he said. "I'm not thinking about it too much,
though. I have to play the rest of the season first, then graduate.
Those are the two main things. I have to do those two things to deserve
"I just want Ivan to know he has two options," Miller said. "His head's
on so well, I know he'll think it through. He has no delusions of
grandeur. Every time he has talked to a college coach, one of his first
questions has been, 'Would I get tutoring at your place?' "
If Brown could ask one question of those coaches who face Bonner , it
would be, "Would you please play us man-to-man?"
"We don't get played man-to-man that much and coach says it's out of
respect for me," he said. "Every scouting report we get, I ask him,
'Will they play us man?' He keeps saying no, that they're scared of our
quickness. I like getting that kind of respect. It inspires me from week
to week to week, knowing that a team is that aware of me. It makes me
always play hard."
In last Friday's game, Brown had the opportunity to give Bonner the win
in regulation. But after shooting 8-for-8 from the line in the last
quarter, he missed a one-and-one at with four seconds remaining.
"Eye-van choked! Eye-van choked!" The Prep's fans chanted.
"I didn't choke," he said. "The ball was there, it just spun out. That
was a tough crowd out there. I loved it, though. It made me get more
into the game. The more they teased us, the more we said, 'We've got to
outdo these guys.' "
Then, with four seconds left in overtime, a turnover gave Bonner
possession in its own end. Bonner ran a play in which congestion at
midcourt was enough to slow Brown's defender and enable him to catch a
looping pass in stride from guard John Roe.
His "J" was taken off balance, not to mention a step or two out of his
range, but in the ball went. And off the court he trotted, never
bothering to respond to the fans' taunts.