With a quarter of the NBA regular season complete, the Boston Celtics are 20-5 and in first place in the Eastern Conference. The reigning East champions are guided by arguably the best one-two punch in the league in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.
The 26-year-old Brown has been a terror in his seventh NBA season. Entering Wednesday’s game against the Suns in Phoenix, the Cal product is averaging 26.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists — all career highs — and has turned heads with his aggressiveness and proficiency on the court.
In last Sunday night’s 103-92 win against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center, Brown poured in 34 points and had 10 rebounds, two assists, two steals, four blocks and no turnovers. He also shot 10-of-20 from the field (5-of-9 on 3-pointers) to continue his best season shooting the ball at 50.4% from the field.
Brown continues to make an impact off the court, too. Last weekend, he hosted his second annual 7uice Foundation Gala at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Brown created 7uice in 2019 to impact the lives of disadvantaged youth by implementing educational programs and opportunities across Boston and the United States.
While hosting his event, Brown spoke with Bally Sports about his foundation but also the landscape of the NBA — including his thoughts on whether he should be an All-Star, his role with Tatum on the Celtics and LeBron James’ recent comments on Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
Why is the 7uice Foundation so important to the community?
7uice is energy. That’s what it means. 7uice is lots of positive energy in the community. Lots of designers, a lot of the people in the demographic and a lot of the artists are from the community. So it’s a community-based brand in a sense, you know what I mean? It started from a community in Boston and now being able to represent that energy here on a bigger platform and a bigger scale, and it’s all about the community and uplifting the community. Also, I have a little drip at the same time, too.
You grew up in Marietta, Georgia. You went to college at Cal and then got drafted by the Boston Celtics. That’s a move from the South, to the West and then the Northeast. What have you learned from being in the city of Boston?
Where do I start? I am learning a LOT, man. When I first got here I was like, a little intimidated and didn’t know a lot about Boston, and I had a lot of amazing families reach out to me — one family was the Wahlbergs. I was booed when I first got drafted here — a lot of people don’t talk about that — so when I first got here, you know, I didn’t feel welcomed. But it’s easy to look at the negativity and see the positivity that’s here in Boston. There’s a lot of great families, a lot of great people doing great work, and they’re here tonight at the annual gala and we’re celebrating that energy. Sometimes, the negative outweighs the positive in society, so we’re going to flip it: THE POSITIVE OUTWEIGHS THE NEGATIVE.
Are you an All-Star this season?
Am I an All-Star? I’ve been an All-Star my whole life. That’s something that in my mind — in terms of if you're asking politically — or that’s up to the league and that’s in their hands. But I think it should be more exclusive in regards to the decision-making that goes into the process because, to be honest, we have no idea how we make it. We make it and then they say that there's this large process, but the (players) union isn’t involved at all. So, as players and representatives of the organizations, I think that definitely we should have some say so. But, if you look at me and ask me, I’ve been an All-Star my whole life, and nothing is going to change that if somebody is telling me that I’m an All-Star or somebody is telling me that I’m not an All-Star. I think that more players should look at it the same way. I put my values and representation in other people’s hands. That’s a part of me just being the man that I am. Obviously, it’s a tremendous accolade to be acknowledged as being the best of the best, which I think I am and who I am. If I don’t get that recognition, it’s OK. I’ll keep going and pushing. That’s how life is sometimes.
Are you and Jayson Tatum the best duo in the league right now?
I don’t subscribe to what’s being said. I try to stay as even-keeled as I possibly can. Right now, things are going well. Tomorrow can flip just like that. So I just want to stay balanced and continue to move forward and continue to win games. I think me and JT are probably the best two-way players in the league. I’m excited to be able to continue to get better, excited to be able to win games, and that’s not a knock on anybody else. But I’m hungry and I’m looking toward the future.
The NBA’s Eastern Conference is loaded. The Celtics are living their best lives in first place. What’s the biggest difference between last season and this season for the Celtics?
Experience. Chemistry. Camaraderie. And we’ve been able to figure a lot of stuff out and we’re STILL growing. (Last season) we were younger. I was a year younger; JT was a year younger … so now going through that season last year that was magical, we’re a year older and now we see things a little differently with different eyes. We see the game a little bit more now, and we started out the season great. So now we just have to keep it up.
Last question. LeBron James was critical of the media about the lack of criticism for Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones after a photo of Jones surfaced of him standing among a group of white students at North Little Rock high school in Arkansas on Sept. 9, 1957. How did you feel about LeBron sharing that the critique of Jones was not as harsh as the recent controversy surrounding Kyrie Irving?
I’ve seen LeBron’s comments, and I think it should be looked at. I think he made some good points, and I think that people should pay attention and chime in. And he had an opinion against it before. I think those conversations need to be had.