Jaylen Brown

How Cal star’s life off the court makes him perfect NBA pick
By Zach Braziller June 22, 2016 | 9:54pm

Jaylen Brown is a Renaissance man.

A projected top-10 pick in Thursday night’s NBA draft at Barclays Center, Brown prepared for the biggest night of his young life this week by visiting a chess club. He invited his professors to his press conference when he announced he was entering the draft. He spent his rare free time his lone year at Cal interning for a venture capitalist firm. He took classes in global poverty and practice, theoretical studies and student activism.

The athletic and agile 6-foot-7 forward could be a big star one day. But that’s just part of what separates him from others his age.

“He’s an anomaly,” said Erik Moore, the founder and managing director of Base Ventures, where Brown interned. “It’s hard to put this guy in a box or category.”

“I’m not trying to be different,” said Brown, a Marietta, Ga., native. “To me, I’m just being myself.”

Rather than hiring an agent, Brown, 19, is relying on a team of advisors that includes former Knicks general manager and coach Isiah Thomas, former NBA star Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Cal alum Hashim Ali to guide him through the process. Brown has immersed himself in the league’s collective bargaining agreement and the rookie contracts, and has met NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Players Association executive director Michele Roberts. Agent Aaron Goodwin helped negotiate his sneaker deal with Adidas.

Brown, however, has yet to cash in on the perks of soon becoming a millionaire athlete. He was still living in his Cal dorm room and eating at the school cafeteria before flying cross-country to New York, and he hasn’t spent big money on fancy cars or jewelry. Brown plans to get his undergraduate degree from Cal.

“That’s the ideal person to have coming into this league, a mature 19-year-old who’s well-rounded, who has his life in balance in terms of perspective, who won’t necessarily be seduced by the negative impact that celebrity in the sport can bring,” Thomas said. “Finding a mature, well-rounded individual who can play at the highest level is every team’s dream.”

Chess is one of Brown’s passions, along with playing acoustic guitar and reading. He was the captain of his high-school chess team at Wheeler High School in Marietta and took a chess class as an elective at Cal.

“It’s all about strategy, and I feel like life is about strategy,” he said. “How you move your pieces, each pawn, each step you take, it’s about positioning. You definitely want to get your pieces in the center of the board, and that’s what I’m trying to do now.”

The day before the draft, Brown talked as much about immersing himself in the community of whichever team drafts him as the team itself. He wants to make a difference wherever he goes, help that organization win on the court and reach fans off of it.

“That’s everything to me,” he said Wednesday. “The fans care about somebody who cares about them. It’s not all about somebody who can put the ball in the cup. I think that’s my calling.”

Brown said the turning point for his basketball career came at age 15, when he fractured his ankle. For the first time, basketball was taken away, and it made him realize how important it was to him. His work ethic changed, and his game took off. He went on to become a McDonald’s All-American and help Cal reach the NCAA Tournament as the Pac-12 Rookie of the Year.

Thursday night, he will be a top-10 pick, perhaps as high as No. 3. He sees it as only a start.

“It’s baby steps,” Brown said. “This is the opening game for me. “I’m super excited and I’m super ready.”

Source: http://nypost.com


Jaylen Brown emerges as one of NBA draft’s more polarizing figures
By Connor Letourneau Updated 7:09 pm, Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Two days before the biggest day of his life, a soon-to-be NBA lottery pick visited the Marshall Chess Club in Greenwich Village.

It was the eve of the ninth annual New York International, one of the country’s preeminent tournaments, and chess masters were surveying the venue. The captain of his middle-school chess team long before he was an NBA prospect, Jaylen Brown challenged a 9-year-old national champion named Nico Chasin to a game.

“Nico beat him pretty soundly, but Jaylen was super respectful about it,” said Bryan Quick, the Marshall Chess Club’s executive director. “It was just nice to see he wasn’t afraid to take on anybody, even a third-grader.”

It is this willingness to shun societal norms that makes Brown one of the NBA draft’s more polarizing figures. Though some front offices appreciate that the former Cal forward is well-rounded, others question his love for basketball. Though some respect that he navigated the draft process without an agent, others wonder whether he is too bullheaded to take direction.

All teams agree on Brown’s physical tools: At 6-foot-7, 233 pounds with only 5.1 percent body fat, he is among the best athletes to enter the draft in recent memory. Whichever franchise uses an early pick Thursday on Brown, who didn’t respond to interview requests for this story, will do so hoping that his game will catch up with his natural gifts.

Full article here: http://www.sfgate.com

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