Boston Celtics

NBA All-Star Game 2021: Jaylen Brown embracing role as leading voice for the next generation

Who is Jaylen Brown?

Where do we begin...

He's perhaps best known for being the No. 3 overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft, one of the Boston Celtics' two young franchise cornerstones and a first-time All-Star in 2021.

While each of the above answers is true, there's so much more that makes up who Brown truly is.

At 24, Brown is a Vice President of the NBA Players' Association, an activist and a brilliant mind who has spoken at tech summits and led forums at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Quite frankly, he's one of the most interesting men in the league.

When Brown takes the floor for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, GA, he'll do so just a half-hour away from where he attended high school in Marietta, GA. Over the last five years, Brown has made a home in Boston but his roots run deep in the Atlanta area.

I think back to May of 2020, while the NBA season was on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was then that Brown made the 15-hour drive from Boston to Atlanta in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and rising racial tensions in the United States. There, Brown would have a hand in organizing and leading a peaceful protest alongside another native of the area, Malcolm Brogdon of the Indiana Pacers.

Over the past year, Brown's activism has shone in many ways that were encapsulated by his efforts in May.

There's the act of taking initiative, the concept of displaying leadership and the immeasurable commitment displayed by spending the majority of a 24-hour day driving with the ultimate goal of making an impact.

A post shared by Malcolm Brogdon (@malcolmbrogdon)

During a Zoom media session ahead of his All-Star debut, Brown spoke on some of his motivation to be an inspirational voice.

"(There are people) who laid their lives on the line for me to be able to stand here … and move around freely," Brown told the media.

"I feel like there should be people in our generation that should be able to do the same thing," he continued. "And I identify as one of those people, so everything is for the next generation. Everything is for the youth. Everything is to try to make the world a better place."

Brown's efforts to make the world a better place didn't begin with his 15-hour drive, nor will they end with his pre-All-Star declaration to prioritize the youth.

During the NBA Restart at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, FL, Brown chose "Liberation" as the message for the back of his jersey. If you visit Brown's @FCHWPO (Faith, Consistency, Hard Work Pays Off) Twitter, you'll find that his avatar image still bears the message of "Liberation" in the form of his No. 7.

Throughout his time in the NBA bubble, Brown was profound with his responses to the verdict in the killing of Breonna Taylor as well as the police shooting of Jacob Blake, which resulted in a temporary pause in the 2020 NBA Playoffs.

He entered the offseason with plans to work with political and community leaders in his homes of Atlanta and Boston regarding the role of law enforcement in inner-city areas and continues to be a major voice in educating disenfranchised communities about voter suppression and sharing the importance of exercising the right to vote.

All for a better now and a better world for the next generation.

With respect to the next generation, Brown has also used his platform to empower women, adamantly providing the reminder that "the future is female."

Brown, like many of his other NBA counterparts, has been spotted supporting the WNBA with the signature orange hoodie, but his words - and actions - indicate that he wants to ensure that female voices are also amplified outside of the realm of sport.

At just 24, Brown has used his intelligence and platform to develop one of the strongest voices in the NBA.

Just as his bright future on the court resulted in LeBron James referring to him as "Jaylen 'Underappreciated' Brown," his potential to impact the future of the world outside of basketball is even greater. That should not go unnoticed, nor underappreciated.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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