While the Celtics’ shooting guard is ‘extremely intelligent,’ he offers plenty more on the court
LOS ANGELES — Jaylen Brown had just finished answering a few questions in Spanish — a language he’s picking up lately — when a reporter asked the Boston Celtics’ Rising Stars Challenge representative about a pre-2016 NBA Draft scouting report.
The quote, which was from an anonymous NBA assistant general manager in a story on The Undefeated, includes: “extremely intelligent,” “inquisitive,” “doesn’t fit the mold of a so-called basketball player.”
Brown’s temperament didn’t change as he questioned the root of what could be interpreted as praise: “What is the ‘so-called mold’ of a basketball player?” Brown said Friday. “I challenge whoever has the ideology of this ‘so-called’ basketball player, I challenge them to come out and say what that is.”
That slice of logic feels particularly relevant in this environment, where LeBron James was essentially told to stay in his lane by a Fox News pundit recently and NBA players have made a point to become more involved in the world around them.
There’s no doubt that Brown is a very smart man. But reducing him to that suggests it somehow negatively affects his basketball career.
“That’s just a narrative — I don’t know who’s painting it, but it’s just been there for a long time, and I think it’s time to move on from it,” Brown said. “It’s time to move to a new generation where, not only can you have a job and do your job well, but also have interests outside that and have that be OK, there’s no backlash from that. Especially if you want to be a musician or a politician or something or a venture capitalist like Steph Curry, anything. I think that’s dope. I think it’s time to move in that direction. The time is now. I think the recent comments that have been brought up with K.D., with LeBron chiming in and things like that. That is a narrative that’s been set for a long time now, and it’s up to us — the fans, the media, the players — to change the narrative and make that OK.”
And to those who think of intellectual pursuits as distractions, the proof is on the court. Brown enters Friday’s Rising Stars Challenge as one of its best players, averaging 14.0 points and 5.4 rebounds a game for the second-place Celtics.
“I can hoop; I can play,” he said. “And I’m only going to get better. For everything else, I’m completely devoted to basketball. Everybody just spends their 24 hours different, and I just choose to use all of mine.”