What Jaylen Brown Recalls From Celtics Fans On 2016 Draft Night

'I told God to put me where he needed me'


February 2

Jaylen Brown has grown into a fan favorite with the Boston Celtics. However, he’s kept the receipts of everything said before he even took the floor before the TD Garden crowd.

Brown, now with an NBA Finals and two All-Star appearances under his belt, wasn’t nearly as well received as he is now with those in Boston. Just seven years ago, when the Celtics took Brown with the third overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the reaction wasn’t as thrilling as the 26-year-old is now accustomed to when he exits the locker room tunnel.

This season, Brown has displayed the best version of himself that we’ve seen thus far, averaging a career-high 27 points with 7.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 46 games.

On draft night, Brown was introduced at Barclays Center in Brooklyn with a handful of Celtics fans in attendance, who at the time weren’t aware of what former president of basketball operations Danny Ainge envisioned for the Celtics moving forward. Yet, it only took three words to sum up just how Brown remembered his introductory welcome to Boston.

“They booed me,” Brown told Slam Magazine’s Deyscha Smith. “Wyc (Grousbeck) was calling my name and he’s up there saying, ‘Jaylen, he’s gonna be one of the best players the city has ever seen. He’s up there, like defending the pitch. We’re sticking with it, y’all get over it. This is who we’re going with.'”

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On Wednesday night, Brown played Robin to Jayson Tatum’s (31 points, nine rebounds) Batman against the Brooklyn Nets during a contest that felt lightyears beyond reach for the Eastern Conference rival before they reached halftime. Brown tallied 26 points with three rebounds and as many assists through 32 minutes on the court in the 139-96 win. Brown — as he did against the Nets — has notched nine (of 12) games shooting over 45% from the field for the Celtics.

Brown acknowledged his feeling that there’s a greater purpose to why he was selected to join the Celtics. He feels as though there’s an opportunity to create a larger impact in Boston, beyond just the basketball court.

“Before I got drafted, honestly, I told God to put me where he needed me,” Brown said. “He chose me to be here, for whatever reason. I remember, distinctly, I didn’t care where I went, you know, I could have played basketball in Alaska. But I told him to put me where I needed to be and he placed me in Boston.”

Brown added: “My personal happiness is about what you can do and how you can affect the community and how you’re going to use your platform. I really feel like that’s the only reason why I got talent. Our creator wanted me to do something with it. Bigger than just what I do on the court.”

Thumbnail photo via Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports Images
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