Kwame Brown did not exactly leave the NBA draped in glory. His career is best known for its shortcomings, and despite the No. 1 pick lasting 12 years in the league, it was his status as a top draft pick that kept him around, rather than anything he offered on the court.
That’s worthwhile context to mention before sharing an anecdote he offered to explain the end of his career. In a broad profile piece on some of the more famous members of the new Big 3 league, Bleacher Report’s Bonsu Thompson shared an anecdote from Brown, who claims his career was cut short because of mishandling of his health while in Philadelphia.
The first high schooler to go No. 1 in an NBA draft still managed to clock in 12 NBA seasons. He blames the premature end to his career on an injury he sustained as a 76er. “I had what’s called an avulsion fracture where the hamstring tears a piece of the bone away,” says Brown. “They were working me out every day, but they misdiagnosed me. They told me I had a mild hamstring injury. I was icing when I should’ve had surgery to pin it back.”
Sounds like a lawsuit. “Nah, you’re not going to win with big corporations like that,” Brown says.
If this was your run-of-the-mill NBA franchise, it would be easy to write off an anecdote like this as a one-man mistake, or even an alternative version of history from a guy who has motivation to paint his NBA exit as a product of someone else’s failure. Brown did nothing to keep himself in the league on the hardwood, and to be frank, he’s lucky he lasted as long as he did.
But as we documented previously, the Sixers’ history of struggling with medical issues—which popped up again this past season—dates back well over a decade. Through different owners, coaches, general managers, and several rosters worth of players, the team has come up short in injury prevention and injury diagnosis.
Take Brown’s anecdote for what it’s worth, but given the easily-tracked history, it’s not an encouraging thing to hear, regardless of what caliber of player he was and is. Joel Embiid has well-documented concerns in the health department, and though that would be true anywhere, tracking his health becomes even more worrisome on a franchise that continues to be dogged by accusations of medical incompetence.