Jaylen Brown, who spent just one season at Cal before jumping to the NBA in 2016, gave GQ Sports a glimpse into his soul by sharing the 10 things he cannot live without.
Brown was enjoying the best of his fourth seasons with the Boston Celtics — averaging 20.4 points and 6.4 rebounds — when the season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In his lone season at Cal, Brown averaged 14.6 points with six games of at least 20 points. His freshman season ended on a slide, his production dipping to 7.8 points on 21-percent shooting over his final five games, including a four-point effort in the Bears’ opening-round NCAA tournament loss to Hawaii.
The Bears haven’t played in the NCAAs since but things have gone well for Brown. Drafted No. 3 overall by Boston in 2016, Brown took a big step as a second-year player, regressed slightly in 2018-19 then had his breakthrough season this year.
Still just 23, here are 10 things Brown said he cannot live without:
1. Books: “I prefer reading over watching TV, I prefer reading over social media, I prefer reading over a lot of stuff,” he says. “There’s something about turning the pages I enjoy.” Brown identifies three books he is currently reading: "The War of Art," to inspire people who struggle with creativity, by Steven Pressfield; "Pound the Stone: 7 Lessons to Develop Grit on the Path to Mastery," by Joshua Medcalf; "Easy French, Step by Step," by Myrna Bell Rochester.
2. Tea: Brown says he drinks tea when he wakes up the morning and just before bed. “Sometimes it’s hard to come back down if it’s an intense game,” he explains. "Tea is one of the only things that can help me relax after one of those intense games.” Brown travels with a collections of teas “because most times you go to hotels and the tea is trash.” He was enjoying a cup of lemon ginger tea during the interview, and says he’d someday like to own a tea shop.
3. Sage: The practice of “saging the air” was introduced to Brown by a professor at Cal and he’s been doing it ever since.
4. Lemon Perfect: Brown apparently enjoys the cold pressed lemon water from Starbucks.
5. His passport: “I love traveling,” says Brown, who took his family to Egypt last year to see the pyramids. His next trip, whenever it’s safe to travel again: Tokyo.
6. Jewelry box: Brown keep his most precious accessories in his jewelry box, including an ankh pendant. An ankh is an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol that represents life. “I wear this a lot of times under my clothing . . . to keep the negative energy away and for the most part it works.”
7. Hat case: Brown wore his hair longer in the past — a “box” cut, he calls it — but with shorter hair he now enjoys collecting baseball caps. And he found a case to house them. “My hat collection is picking up fast,” Brown says. “During this quarantine time I’ve been online looking for hats.”
8. Chess set: Brown has been playing chess for years — was part of his high school chess club. “I love playing it with my friends and my family. Just keeping your mind sharp,” he says. “I also like to playing with people I just (met), just to get a feel for how they think.” For just those situations, Brown travels with a foldable chess set.
9. Record player and album collection: Brown says he traveled with a portable record player until it broke. Still, he has begun collecting records. His favorites include Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Marvin Gaye, Teddy Pendergrass and Carlos Santana. Asked for his current favorite, Brown goes for Tupac’s “All Eyez on Me.”
9. Quarantine essentials: Brown shows us his mask, gloves, Lysol spray and hand sanitizer. “Got to stay safe,” he says, adding that the quarantine has not been quite what he expected. For the first time in several years, he’s had the chance to spend extended time with those closest to him. “I’ve actually enjoyed spending time with my family, despite the circumstances going on in the world.”
10. Family: With his mother, older brother and grandfather joining him on the video, Brown tells us, “Got to have the family with you, the loved ones, especially during this time. Hope you’ve got your family with you.”
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo
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