Playing to win, with max effort paid off for P.J.

By O.K. Davis and Teddy Allen

Even Wikipedia isn’t sure about the origin or what ‘P.J.’ means. Not that it really matters.

Collier Brown is simply happy with the way things have turned out in his life, both personally and athletically.

”People have always asked what does “P.J.” stand for? ” he said. ”Believe it or not, I really don’t have an answer. It’s been an unsolved mystery for all of my life.”

Collier will be recognized with Louisiana’s ultimate honor in sports when he is inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in Natchitoches. The enshrinement takes place Saturday night, June 25 at the Natchitoches Events Center, just up a hill from the $23 million Hall of Fame museum, and only 33 miles from his hometown.

His high school (Winnfield) and college career (Louisiana Tech University) was in North Louisiana.

His professional and overall playing career ended nearly 1,600 miles away (Boston). In between, there were exciting victories, memorable individual performances and a world championship. Had P.J. scripted his life as an athlete and family man, things couldn’t have turned out much better.

Maybe a large part of his success has been due to following a life-long axiom.
”There have been two important principles that I live by even today,” he said. ”Always finish what you start and quitting is never an option. I played to win and always gave maximum effort in practice and games.”

He began applying those principles at Winnfield High, where he attracted college scholarship offers and wound up signing with Tech as a still unpolished 6-9 inside player.
Once at Tech, he piggy-backed his success as a prepster both individually and as a team.

He was the ideal teammate both in and outside of the court’s lines.
His 15-year and 1,089-game NBA life came to an ideal conclusion when the Celtics won a world championship.

And on the final Saturday in June, another honor awaits.

Editor’s note – This is one in a series profiling the 11 members of the Class of 2016 being enshrined Saturday, June 25 in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. Competitive ballot inductees are P.J. Brown, Jim Hightower, Rick Jones, “Gentleman” Dave Malarcher, Janice Joseph-Richard, Ben Sheets, Arthur “Red” Swanson, and Anthony Thomas. Contributor inductees are Dr. Julian Bailes, Jim Hawthorne and Bob Tompkins. A schedule of events from June 23-25, along with online sales for tickets and golf entries, is available at, with information also available by calling 318-238-4255.