Proviso East boasts 3 alumni in NBA finals

June 17, 2010 3:45:39 PM PDT
Most high schools would be honored to have one alum involved in the NBA Finals. Proviso East in west suburban Maywood has three!

ABC 7's John Garcia talked to relatives, former coaches and those who are inspired by Lakers guard Shannon Brown, Celtics reserve Michael Finley and coach Doc Rivers.

The old gym at Proviso East High School in some ways is like a basketball museum. Jim Brewer won an NBA Title with the Lakers back in 1982, but he is equally proud of the state championship he won with Proviso East back in 1969. His nephew, Doc Rivers, will try to win his second championship as coach of the Celtics Thursday night.

"We'd like to see, family-wise, Doc win, for myself, but there's no losers. There's no losers tonight," said Brewer.

That's because no matter the result a Proviso East alum will be crowned NBA champion. Doc Rivers' jersey is prominently displayed at the school. On the other side, the Lakers' Shannon Brown is Proviso East class of '03. He grew up playing ball at the YMCA in Oak Park.

"He learned the team concept, to work well with others," said Chris Brown, Shannon's father.

Doc Rivers' brother Grady will be rooting for the Celtics but also for the town of Maywood.

"For the kids of Maywood to see what can be achieved, it's a blessing for all of us," said Grady.

The sign outside school wishes all three alums luck Thursday night. Proviso East has nine different alumni who have played in the NBA and all give back. Michael Finley hosts a basketball camp every summer after the season.

"The legacy Proviso has is rich," said school board president Chris Welch, "and it seems to continue year after year after year."

Athletic director Andrew Johnson coached all three at different times and he is not taking sides Thursday.

"I'm for the guys from Maywood," said Johnson.

This will be the fourth consecutive year a Proviso East grad will get an NBA championship ring. Finley won in 2007 with San Antonio, Rivers the next year with the Celtics, and Brown last year with the Lakers. Regardless of which team wins, Proviso East officials say the believe that record is unprecedented.

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