Cal Basketball: Jaylen Brown Encourages Others to Get the Facts, Speak Out

Jaylen Brown says players have a responsibility to educate themselves and use their platform.Photo by Tommy Gilligan, USA Today

Jeff Faraudo

One former Cal athlete hopes the missteps of another former Golden Bear won’t discourage those in the public eye from sharing their views on important social issues.

But Jaylen Brown wants others to make sure they know what they’re talking about before opening their mouths or taking to social media.

“I want to encourage entertainers to not be discouraged by what happened with DeSean Jackson and continue to use your voice and platform. Just use it responsibly,” the Boston Celtics’ 23-year-old guard said of the Philadelphia Eagles’ 33-year-old wide receiver in an interview with The Athletic.

“Do your research, ask questions, call up people to talk about things. And when you feel comfortable talking about it, talk about it.”

Jackson found himself in hot water this week after items he posted on his Instagram page cited anti-Semitic quotes falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler. Jackson apologized and was punished by the Eagles, who reportedly have fined him.

Jackson has promised to educate himself on the history of Jewish people, and on Friday spoke with a 94-year-old Holocaust survivor.

Brown, who has been a voice in the Black Lives Matter moment following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, hopes his peers continue to use their platform to address important issues.

"I would still like to encourage athletes to speak out on things. Not only are we athletes or NBA players or entertainers, we also have obligations to our community, obligations to our family, etc. So, a lot of times when we speak, we represent them," Brown said. "So, I want to still encourage NBA players and people with influence to do so, even though media might think otherwise, other people might think otherwise. I think that's a form of an oppressive thought to try to silence our voices.”

Jaylen Brown's hyperbaric chamber

Special accommodations: Brown and the Celtics have arrived in Orlando, Florida to enter the NBA “bubble” in preparation for the resumption of the season after nearly four months off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brown, who stands 6-foot-6, wants to make sure he maximizes his health and rest while in Orlando, so he reportedly brought with him a portable hyperbaric sleep chamber to et up in his hotel room.

The device is reputed to provide benefits that include improving physical conditioning and recovering from injury. And, Brown hopes, a good night’s sleep.

Kantner impressed: Celtics center Enes Kantner got his first look at Brown in quite some time before the team began workouts inside the Disney bubble on Friday, and he was more impressed.

"The one who amazed me the most is probably Jaylen Brown,” Kanter said on his podcast, according to NBC Boston. “He literally came in — his arms, his upper body, he’s like doubled. He was an extra large and now he was like a double XL.”

Brown apparently trained during the break with his 78-year-old grandfather, Willie Brown, a Vietnam war veteran, and spent a lot of time doing boxing workouts.

"This dude, I’m like, ‘What did you do?’ I think all the boxing with his grandfather got him right,” Kantner said. “He looks really strong to me.”

No bubble complaints: While some other players have griped about the bubble arrangement at Disney, Brown declined to be critical.

“We understand that the conditions might not be as normal as we’re used to. But no need to complain,” Brown told reporters. “I think all of us come from humble beginnings as is, so seeing the bigger picture while we’re down there to not only divert the attention to things that’s going on in the actual world, but come and use our platforms to make a big influence. I think that’s the big thing, but the basketball part is going to be easy for a lot of us. We just have to get comfortable slowly but surely.”

Players were quarantined for 36 hours when they first arrived in Orlando this week, which Brown labeled as “an interesting experience.”

When not practicing or playing, Brown said he plans to use his spare time educating himself and talking with others. Although he spent just one year at Cal, Brown has continued to mature in ways off the court, and in February 2019 was voted the youngest-ever vice president of the NBA Players Association.

“While we’re down here, we got nothing but time,” he said. “So I’m trying to make myself available to any players that are around and might have questions or anything they want to build off of, and also my teammates as well. So we can figure out ways to put our heads together and be a part of change.”


*** SI's Robin Lundberg is excited for what the NBA bubble might bring:

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