PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Allen Iverson had just received the All-Star game's MVP award and all he wanted was to share it with Larry Brown.
"Where's my coach?" Iverson said, standing at the podium after scoring 25 points to lead the East to victory after a 19-point deficit.
It was a moment Brown will never forget.
"When he called me up there, it was probably one of the neatest things I ever experienced as a coach and I'll always remember that," Brown said Wednesday after receiving the NBA's Coach of the Year award.
Brown and Iverson came a long way together this season, mending their contentious relationship and leading the Sixers to their best record in 16 years.
Just last summer, Iverson was nearly traded in a package that included Matt Geiger. But Geiger nixed the deal by refusing to waive a no-trade kicker in his contract.
"I'm so happy Matt decided to stay here last summer, because it made all this possible," Brown said.
Iverson was selected as the league's most valuable player, Aaron McKie won the Sixth Man of the Year Award and Dikembe Mutombo was chosen the defensive player of the year as Philadelphia became the first team to win four awards.
The only awards the Sixers didn't get were rookie of the year (Orlando's Mike Miller) and most improved player (Orlando's Tracy McGrady).
"I said this is a magical season," team president Pat Croce said.
Brown's day became more special when Dean Smith, his mentor and former coach at North Carolina, flew in from Jacksonville, Fla., to congratulate him.
"Oh my God," Brown said, turning speechless when he noticed Smith walking up to the podium. Smith, who tried to lure Brown back to North Carolina to fill its head coaching vacancy last summer, called him a "born coach."
Brown, who once said coaching at North Carolina is his dream, is glad he stayed in Philadelphia.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.