Boston Celtics young star Jaylen Brown partook in a panel discussion on Friday, challenging the preconceived notions regarding Boston while challenging those who reside within the city to strive for betterment — and shining a light on those issues which the 25-year-old believes tend to get neglected.
Alongside Christa Brown, founder of the Free Soil Arts Collective, and Frank Farrow, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office for Black Male Advancement, Brown participated in a discussion titled “The City Talks: Leading From Anywhere” on Monday.
The up-and-coming NBA star, who is getting set to embarking on his seventh season in the NBA, referenced various society-defiant iconic athletes who assisted in paving the way for redefining the normal standard outside the basketball court.
“They want you to act, look, think, and be almost in a sense, the same,” Brown said, as transcribed by Boston.com’s Khari Thompson. “I talked about it in a talk at Berkeley and called in dynamic normalization. They want us to be ‘safe.’ But a lot of my favorite athletes, Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), Jim Brown, Bill Russell, a lot of those athletes were not safe. They were controversial, they were political, they used their platforms and made statements. So why are you training me to be the opposite?”
The 2021 All-Star forward, despite being at the center of an abundance of offseason trade rumors and commentary, still remains closely connected with the city of Boston — which Brown has represented ever since being drafted by the Celtics at No. 3 overall in 2016. Brown has since joined the National Basketball Players Association’s Executive Committee, serving as vice president — re-elected by players within the league after initially voting Brown for the position in 2019.
“My family is here, so I consider myself a part of the community,” Brown said. “And I know a lot of people are like, ‘Boston is great,’ ‘Boston is wonderful,’ ‘What are all these complaints about, why would anybody want to change anything?’ I would push for them to see the other side of the coin. There’s a lot of alarming statistics that jump off the page when you look at Boston on paper.”
Brown added: “I think it’s important, it’s imperative really, it’s a responsibility from my parents for me in order to pull others up as you continue to move forward. What good is it if I make it to a certain platform and only think about myself? It’s important to think about others and think about the community that I come from. Because a lot of times there’s a disconnect as I navigate and make it through these barriers.”
On Tuesday, Brown surprised some local residents in Dorchester, visiting the Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy and providing backpacks and shirts from his “7uice” clothing brand.