As the country experiences a period of social change and turmoil, various athletes have used their platforms to broadcast many “get out the vote” movements and participate in the Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd. Although many Boston athletes are becoming prominent figures in social change, one stands out among the crowd — Jaylen Brown. Not only is he a silent leader on the Boston Celtics, Brown is relatively active regarding social change movements. Specifically, in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Brown drove 15 hours to Atlanta, Ga. in order to lead peaceful protests. He is praised for his charity work around the Boston area and wore “Liberation” on his jersey during the latter part of the 2019–20 NBA season to display his support for the ongoing protests.
Hailing from Marietta, Ga., Brown received various offers from Power Five schools and eventually landed at the prestigious University of California, Berkeley. While at Cal, Brown was praised for his cerebral game style and his curiosity in the classroom. As a true freshman, he averaged 14.6 points per game and 5.4 rebounds. Following being named as the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, Brown waived the remaining years of his NCAA eligibility and entered the 2016 NBA draft. Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics then drafted Brown at No. 3 overall, one of the better picks from this draft.
One of the more prominent personalities on the Celtics, Jaylen Brown is a fan favorite among the Boston faithful; he plays with such tenacity and intensity on the court, making him a challenge to an opposing defender. Although Brown has suffered various setbacks and slumps through his early career in a Celtic uniform, his attitude and infectious smile make him hard to root against.
In an interview prior to the 2016 NBA draft, Brown stated: “I’m not going to change my values and change my approach because someone feels uncomfortable. I am not going to be disrespectful or step on any toes. But I am going to be me.” His sentiment still echoes today; Brown is outspoken on the many issues that are currently plaguing our country. After the shooting of Jacob Blake, Brown and fellow teammate Jayson Tatum suggested that the City of Boston utilize the vacant TD Garden as a voting station for the 2020 election. Jaylen Brown also hopes to eliminate voter suppression among historically marginalized groups, which is an issue that is prominent especially during this election season.
In the current period of American history, common people and athletes alike are looked upon to provide change for future generations. Jaylen Brown is a perfect example of an athlete who is using his powerful platform to his advantage; he is voicing strong messages on voter suppression, racial injustice and police reform. He truly is an important part of what this country needs to maintain a strong future; he demonstrates exemplary influence over the many issues he has stances on and will be crucial to the social reform needed in this country.