With the Celtics in London to play the 76ers Thursday, Jaylen Brown is the subject of a lengthy profile in the British daily The Guardian in which the C's 21-year-old rising star impressed interviewer Donald McRae as "the most intelligent young athlete I’ve interviewed in years."
Jaylen Brown, aka @FCHWPO of the Boston Celtics, is the most intelligent young athlete I've interviewed in years. He talks here about race in America, Trump, @Kaepernick7, education, the loss of his best friend, the Celtics, London, Arsenal & @ThierryHenry https://t.co/dILTQVzU4S— Donald McRae (@donaldgmcrae) January 9, 2018
Brown, from Marietta, Georgia, talked about the racism he's faced as a youth and how President Donald Trump "has made it more acceptable for racists to speak their minds."
- VIDEO - Reporting from London: Celtics begin workouts
- Is Tatum having a better rookie season than Curry did?
- Ainge tweets photo of Hayward without ankle brace
"I just think Trump’s character and some of his values makes him unfit to lead," Brown told McRae. "For someone like him to be president, and in charge of our troops? It’s scary to be honest.”
Brown said he's faced overt racism playing basketball when he was younger. "I’ve had people call me the n-word. I’ve had people come to basketball games dressed in monkey suits with a jersey on. I’ve had people paint their face black at my games. I’ve had people throw bananas in the stands."
Today, Brown said he sees racism "hidden in more strategic places. You have less people coming to your face and telling you certain things. But [Donald] Trump has made it a lot more acceptable for racists to speak their minds.”
Brown said the President's Twitter war with LaVar Ball helped shaped his opinion of Trump: “He demanded a thank you [from Ball after his son, LiAngelo, at the time a UCLA basketball player, was released from China after being held on a shoplifting charge]. It’s ridiculous. What happened to people doing things out of the generosity of their heart or because it was the right thing to do? There have been multiple situations where it’s been ridiculous but that one was like: ‘OK I’m done. I’m done listening to anything you have to say.’ A 19-year-old kid makes a mistake overseas and [Trump] demands an apology from his dad? I think Trump’s unfit to lead.”
And on another subject that drew the President's ire, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players protesting racism and police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem, Brown told McRae: “It was peaceful and successful. It made people think. It made people angry. It made people want to talk. Often everybody is comfortable with their role in life and they forget about the people who are uncomfortable. So for Colin to put his career on the line, and sacrifice himself, was amazing. But Colin was fed up with the police brutality and pure racism. He speaks for many people in this country – including me.”
As for basketball, Brown said the young Celtics aren't thinking about how good they'll be in the future. They're more concerned with the present.
"People say maybe we’ll be good in two years – but I think we’re good now. Right now we’ve got one of the best records in the league [32-10]. I think we could be as good as we want to be. But the more we let people construct our mindset, and start saying two years from now, is the moment we lose.”