Note: Originally published in my old blog back in July 12, 2012.
After several months of preparation, PBA legend Ricardo “Ricky” Brown returned to the Philippines for the first time in almost 22 years in order to reconnect with his local fans as well as to be recognized by the league as a PBA Hall of Famer and one of its 25 Greatest Players.
With the exception of a single game—his last in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA)—I never really had the opportunity to truly appreciate the basketball talents of Ricky Brown.
But it was memorable and one that I can still remember to this day.
The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) 1990’-91’ Season
As I write this, it is hard to believe that my love affair with the game of basketball began 22 long years ago. I was about 13 at that time and had started to fervently follow Asia’s first play-for-pay league, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
From what I can recall of that 1990’-91’ season, the league was coming off the 1989 Grand Slam of the San Miguel Beer (SMB) franchise—a team accomplishes a “Grand Slam” if they are able to win all three conference championships in a single season—and that there were high expectations that the club would defend all of their titles that coming season.
However, with SMB players comprising one-third of the all-professional Philippine national basketball team sent to compete in the Beijing Asian Games that September, the club had to make do without a number of their mainstays.
That was, until another member of their championship squad returned from the United States during the PBA’s Third Conference—Ricardo Brown.
As a basketball and PBA neophyte, I knew very little of the man known to many as “The Quick Brown Fox.” But with the help of very informative pre-game videos from Vintage Sports—the PBA’s television coverage partner at that time—I would come to know Brown as a decorated player with a high basketball IQ.
And in his return game, it seemed like he didn’t miss a beat despite the long layoff.
Again from memory, he scored 25 points and connected on 5 three-point shots that late afternoon. I also think he finished with about 7 assists.
Sadly, Ricky Brown was reported to have suffered a groin injury during that game and left for the United States for good soon after.
A Facebook Friend
Last year, I was able to connect with the PBA legend—now Principal Ricardo Brown of Ross Middle School in Artesia, California—via Facebook and took the opportunity to share with him my own personal “Ricky Brown” basketball story.
My pleasure, Tedi… I wish you could have seen me play more. Regardless, it’s great to be your friend here on FB. Keep in touch. God Bless. Ingat…Ricky.
It was a brief conversation, but I certainly appreciated the time that Sir Ricky took to make a connection with me knowing probably how busy his schedule was.
July 12, 2012.
After arriving at 3 rd floor Midtown Wing of Robinson’s Place – Manila, my friend Paolo and I didn’t have to wait long for the PBA legend to appear. Flanked by mall security, Ricardo Brown made his way passed the excited crowd and sat behind a blue draped table.
Brown then spent a short time answering questions highlighted by his revelation that “the best uniform he ever put on” was for the National team when he played for the Philippines during the 1980 Jones Cup and that he was able to hone his basketball skills as a youngster by playing against much older players.
Meet & Greet
When my turn came to meet Sir Ricky, he greeted me with a handshake and asked me my name. We then took a seat and he was nice enough to autograph both my 1991’-92’ and 92’-93’ PBA Annuals. He also personalized a small poster for me.
We then posed for a photo opportunity before I proceeded to thank him for his time and for coming to visit the Philippines.
He quickly responded that the Philippines would always be home to him and he even thanked me for making time to come see him.
Ricardo Brown is truly a class act.