Jaylen Brown

Jaylen Brown Boston
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Jaylen Brown heads to restart with Boston, plans to use voice for social justice

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The Celtics’ Jaylen Brown has been one of the most active NBA players in the Black Lives Matters movement — even driving from Boston to Atlanta to lead a protest.

That’s not changing because he’s going to Orlando for the NBA restart.

Brown admitted he considered not playing in Orlando due to the pandemic, but the opportunity the NBA’s platform provided to speak on social issues was too great to pass up, Brown said in a conference call with reporters Monday, via the Associated Press.

“Once I thought about the opportunity that the organization and the NBA presented to play for something bigger than myself, I was signed up,” he said. “I plan on using my voice while I’m down there. I plan on spreading light on things that are getting dimmed and hopefully the NBA and our organization can understand.”

Brown is not alone in thinking that. Portland’s CJ McCollum is on the executive committee of the National Basketball Players Association as well and said a lot of players see the same opportunity.

“But now [the talk is] more around what impact we can make to support what is going on in the real world, to continue to support Black Lives Matter and the things we’re facing as a society,” McCollum told NBC Sports. “Those are the calls we’re having now. How can we impact? How can we spread awareness on certain things in the world that are going on?…

“The biggest thing is to take advantage of the platform [in Orlando], to coincide with the NBA and figure out productive ways we can continue to spread information, to continue to educate, to continue to put light on things that have often been behind closed doors and never been brought out to the public eye, so I think those are the conversations we’ll continue to have.”

One way players can make a statement is by replacing the name on the back of jerseys with a message pre-approved by the league. Brown, like 76ers forward Mike Scott, is not a fan of how the NBA handled it.

“I think that list is an example of a form of limitations,” Brown said. “I think we should be able to express our struggle just a little bit more…

“The bottom line is there are improvements that need to be made,” Brown said. “The NBA has a great voice, a lot of resources and a lot of influence. We’re appreciative that they’re helping and aiding in a lot of those things that we care about. That’s really important.”

Brown understands the NBA’s voice, and he heads to Orlando planning to use his.

NBA releases new social justice video: ‘The Truth Is #BlackLivesMatter’

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Numerous NBA players have taken part in — and in some cases led — Black Lives Matter protests around the nation.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Malcolm Brogdon, Jaylen Brown, Karl-Anthony Towns, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, DeMar DeRozan, Tobias Harris, Mattise Thybulle, Damian Lillard, and many other NBA players took to the streets as part of the protests of police brutality that rose up in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by a Minneapolis Police officer. NBA owners — Mark Cuban and Vivek Ranadive — as well as front office people such as Elton Brand were at protests as well.

The NBA weaved footage of a lot of those players together in a new social justice brand video focusing on the social justice movement and the league’s commitment to it.

No, Jayson Tatum will not sit out Orlando restart due to injury concerns

Jayson Tatum Orlando
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Jayson Tatum is going to get a max contract extension this offseason.

So is Donovan Mitchell in Utah. There are big paydays coming fall for Bam Adebayo in Miami, De'Aaron Fox in Sacramento, and Kyle Kuzma with the Lakers. Which is why the five of them spearheaded a negotiation with the NBA to set up some injury insurance for the restart in Orlando.

This led to a report the Celtics’ Tatum was “reluctant to return” and might sit out the restart. That is not the case, he’s playing reports A. Sherrod Blakely at NBC Sports Boston.

Jayson Tatum is not considering sitting out the restart of the season due to contract concerns, according to two league sources familiar with the Celtics All-Star’s plans…

“Not true,” a source told NBC Sports Boston. “He’s concerned like every other player about returning to play. There’s a lot … going on in the world that players need to be more concerned about. But sitting out because of the contract? Hell no!”

Another league source indicated the concern over the coronavirus and the league’s plans on addressing it within the bubble-like atmosphere of Orlando, Fla. whose positive test results for the COVID-19 virus have been on the rise, were the bigger concerns for the 22-year-old.

Those latter two issues — Black Lives Matter/social justice issues, and the rise in coronavirus cases in Florida and the Orlando area — exist for a lot of players, as well as for the NBA.

Boston may be the team in the East best poised to knock off Milwaukee. With a balanced and switchable 1-4 or Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, and Tatum, plus Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter at the five, the Celtics are a dangerous offensive team that was top five in defense this season before the interruption. Tatum knows that and he will be back to play.

He’s just got concerns. Like a lot of players.

Russell Westbrook to protesters in Compton: ‘Protect your team. Protect your family.’

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Giannis Antetokounmpo and several of his Bucks’ teammates were at a protest in Milwaukee Saturday. Tobias Harris, GM Elton Brand and others from the Sixers were at a protest in Philadelphia. Stephen Curry was at a demonstration in the Bay Area with his family organized by teammate Juan Toscano-Anderson. Jaylen Brown drove 15 hours from Boston to Atlanta to lead a protest. Numerous NBA coaches have used their voice and platform to discuss race in America.

The NBA community has lifted its voice as part of the national call for change in both police use of force and systemic racism in the United States.

Add Russell Westbrook to that list, he spoke at a rally in Compton, Calif., Sunday, not far from where he grew up.

“Protect your team. Protect your family. In times like this, we need to stick together.”

Compton native DeMar DeRozan was at the protest, also.

Brad Stevens letter to Celtics players: ‘Every decent person is hurting’

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BOSTON — Celtics coach Brad Stevens believes the best way he can be helpful to his players right now is by listening to them.

Boston players including Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Enes Kanter and Vincent Poirier have been among several NBA players to participate in recent protests following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis last month after a white police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck as he begged for air.

Demonstrations have taken place in cities around the country in response to the incident, which was captured in a widely seen video that has mobilized protesters. A medical examiner ruled Monday that Floyd’s heart stopped as police restrained him and compressed his neck.

It all prompted Stevens to write a letter to his players over the weekend in which he expressed his support for them.

“I think the thing that I wanted them to know is that every decent person is hurting,” Stevens said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday. “Every decent person feels the pain of the African American community. But I also don’t want to pretend like I know the exact, distinct pain. So what I wanted them to know is that I’m with them.”

The Celtics were among several professional sports teams to issue statements in the aftermath of Floyd’s death, saying in part that it and other similar incidents “have left the entire Celtics organization struggling with grief and anger.”

The resulting national dialogue has reminded Stevens of the discussions he had with players prior to the 2016-17 season during the height of Colin Kaepernick’s protests when he took a knee during the national anthem prior to NFL games to protest police brutality. Stevens said those protests prompted players to share their own experiences with racial profiling and discrimination.

Brown, who grew up outside of Atlanta, drove 15 hours from Boston to

It’s the kind of action Steven has come to expect from the 23-year-old.

“I’m not surprised with him taking a leadership role,” Stevens said. “That’s who he is.”

Floyd’s death and the resulting demonstrations come at a time during which NBA leadership is trying to formulate a plan to possibly resume the season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stevens said the proposals are promising, but that most talk about basketball has taken a backseat in recent days.

Several Celtics players did begin to take part in voluntary, individual workouts at the team’s practice facility Monday. The team is also having regular meetings via video conferencing.

But Stevens said they have mostly been focusing on the mental well-being of athletes since the start of the pandemic and that’s continued during the demonstrations.