Brown Plans to Use Platform in Orlando to Promote Social Justice
BOSTON – The gathering of 22 NBA teams in Orlando this summer provides players with more than just a platform to complete the 2019-20 Season. It also provides them with a stage on which they can collectively join forces to promote social justice.
For several players, including Jaylen Brown, the opportunity to raise such awareness is far more important than the opportunity to raise a championship banner.
“I think a lot of guys are choosing to go down to Orlando because we have the ability to play for something bigger than ourselves,” Brown said Monday morning during a Zoom conference call with the media. “I think a lot of people, including myself, had some apprehensions, not just because of the social injustice, but also COVID-related, that initially just didn’t want to go. But having the ability and the option to play for something bigger than themselves, I think a lot of guys would sign up for that 10 times out of 10.”
Throughout the NBA hiatus, Brown has used his celebrity platform to help promote social change. In May, he drove all the way from Boston to Atlanta so that he could help to lead his hometown community in a peaceful protest. He’s also spoken on various public panels and has taken part in private conversations with his NBA colleagues to discuss the topic of social injustice and the changes that must be made.
“I think that there is an understanding and an enlightenment going on during this time, and I definitely am a part of that movement,” Brown said. “I just want to continue to help people learn and understand some of the struggles that this country has experienced.”
Teammate Grant Williams also desires to be a part of such a movement. The rookie forward views the upcoming trip to Orlando as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which will enable him to bounce ideas off of his NBA peers who share similar views.
“I think it’s going to be a great opportunity to not only advance as players, as far as using our platforms and images to help the movement, but to also to be able to get together because, in Orlando, this is probably the one time where every team is basically in the same location,” Williams said. “So, all the people who are very interested in a certain sector can get together and put their minds together and think about something that can not only impact society, but also their lives and how they can make an impact.”
In order to make such an impact, Brown believes that he and his peers must focus on more than just basketball over these next few months together. If not, the game itself could divert attention away from the issues that truly matter.
Though, Brown doesn’t anticipate that being a problem, as he noted that the NBA is providing all of the resources necessary to help its athletes promote social justice.
“We have to go down there and make sure that people don’t forget about George Floyd, or Breonna Taylor, or Philando Castile, or Ahmaud Arbery, or Trayvon Martin, and the countless other people who were not caught on video who experienced something similar,” Brown said. "The bottom line is that there’s improvements that need to be made, and the NBA has a great voice, a lot of resources and a lot of influence, and we’re appreciative that they’re helping and aiding in a lot of those things that we care about.”
What Brown truly cares about as he prepares for the NBA to return to action is to not only spark a championship run, but to also help ignite nationwide conversations, which ultimately lead to social change.
“I plan on using my voice when I’m down there,” Brown insisted. “I plan on spreading light on things that are getting dimmed.”