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“I think we can pay you a little bit more than that” — When Gregg Popovich saved Devin Brown from an overnight stocker job

Thanks to Gregg Popovich's training camp invite, Devin Brown was able to live his NBA dream.
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and New Orleans Hornets guard Devin Brown

Gregg Popovich and Devin Brown

Nearly two hundred players have seen action on an NBA court under longtime San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. Many of them have likely been handpicked by the legendary coach, especially considering that he has had a lot of say in how the Spurs roster has been shaped over the years.

In 2002, he opted to give Devin Brown a chance to try out for a roster spot on the team. The retired shooting guard recounted how he was planning to apply for a job outside basketball when Pop met him while going to his car and asked what he would be doing for the next couple of months.

Training camp invite

"I said, 'I was gonna apply for an overnight stocker job at ATB,'" said Brown in an appearance on a San Antonio-based radio show. "And he goes, 'Oh, really? What are they paying you?' I said, '$12 an hour.' And he goes, 'I think we can pay you a little bit more than that.'"

Popovich invited him to the Spurs training camp after the conversation. For Brown, it was the chance of a lifetime after going undrafted in the 2002 NBA Draft. He said he immediately called his agent, and then an eight-year career in the Association ensued.

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Of course, it wasn't all smooth sailing for the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) product, especially in the beginning. The 6-foot-5 was cut before the 2002-03 campaign started. Fortunately, he received another contract to play with the Spurs at the season's onset. In his rookie year, he played seven games for San Antonio and three for the Denver Nuggets, with which he signed a 10-day contract.

Third time's the charm

In the following campaign, he signed with the Spurs for the third time. Brown finally became part of the rotation in the 2003-04 regular season and playoffs.

The swingman got a championship ring after San Antonio won the title in the 2004-05 campaign. While he saw action for just 5.0 minutes per game in that postseason, Brown did play nearly 20 minutes in Game 4 of the Finals series against the Detroit Pistons.

His role as a scoring reserve for the Spurs generated the interest of other teams in the following years. He played for four more franchises before calling it quits in 2010. As luck would have it, that fateful meeting with Popovich in 2002 allowed Brown to live his NBA dream.

Because of his contributions to the Spurs and UTSA Roadrunners, for which he is the all-time leading scorer, Brown was inducted into the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023.

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