Los Angeles — NBA All-Star weekend doesn’t just belong to the big boys playing in the league’s marquee event on Sunday night. It also provides a sneak peak and shines a light on the young fellas that could be the future of the game down the road: the dudes that were invited to play in Friday night’s Rising Stars game.
We caught up with the Boston Celtics’ second-year dynamo Jaylen Brown, who is averaging 14.0 points and 5.4 rebounds per game this year. Brown scored a game-high 35 points and snagged 10 boards in Friday night’s NBA Rising Stars Challenge for Team USA.
Jaylen Brown threw down some serious dunks for the USA Team in the 2018 Rising Stars game! Check out those jams and the rest of his highlights here!
He gave us some insight on his approach to the game, work ethic, how Paul Pierce’s example fuels him, this year’s Celtics squad, how Michael Jordan influenced him, learning from Kyrie Irving and more. Here’s what he had to say.
“You have 24 hours, seven days a week and 365 days in a year. Everybody gets the same amount of time and the same amount of days, so you have to make the most of it. How you choose to use it is up to you.
I ran into Paul Pierce and Isiah Thomas, the Hall of Famer, [on Thursday] night. I was at a bowling alley with my family and they were there. I got to talk to them for a little bit and congratulated Paul on getting his jersey retired.
Seeing that, for me, was fantastic. It puts a larger scheme in your head, like, ‘Why do you play this game? Why do you get up every morning at 6:00 AM? Why do you work out?’ Seeing that happen for Paul gave me some extra motivation.
Everybody has a different story and you can learn anything from anybody. That’s what my mom taught me. When I look at NBA players and their lives, everyone is going to get tested in some way in this league. Everyone is going to have to deal with some form of adversity. So I’m talking to them, asking them questions, picking their brain.
Jaylen Brown was impressive for the Celtics on opening night, scoring 25 points and adding 6 rebounds. Check out the best highlights from the second-year Celtic here! Subscribe to the NBA: http://bit.ly/2rCglzY For news, stories, highlights and more, go to our official website at http://www.nba.com Get NBA LEAGUE PASS: http://www.nba.com/leaguepass
In terms of my favorite All-Star memories, I remember Michael Jordan in 2003. I was seven years old and it was his last All-Star game. He hits a dude with a pump-fake, sidesteps into the corner and knocks down a three. I remember my mom yelling, ‘that’s a bad boy right there!’
And my mom never gets too excited about sports like that. She could care less, but I remember her getting out of her seat to cheer on Michael Jordan. I was like, ‘Man, if he can have that type of influence, because my mom cares nothing about basketball, if he can get her out of that seat, he was obviously special.’
I wanted to be able to get her out of her seat like that too.
Everybody talks about physically working out, but working on the mental aspect of the game is just as important. Right now, it’s about making sacrifices, physically and mentally preparing myself for getting better and growing as a player this year.
As a team, we have to play better. We haven’t been playing to the level of where we normally play. I think we’ve been a little bit complacent. But we have a great group of guys and after the All-Star break, once we talk and get everything together, we’ll be fine. It’s not an ability thing it’s a matter of doing it, putting together the right plan and strategy and I think we’ll be fine in that regard.
We have to raise our energy level. The last few weeks, it hasn’t been what it was earlier in the season. That happens during a long season. But we’re going down the homestretch to get ready for the playoffs and it’s time to come out and ball.
Jaylen Brown scored a team-high 23 points, Jayson Tatum earned a career-high 22 points, and Kyrie Irving added 20 in the Celtics 110-89 win over the Knicks. Subscribe to the NBA: http://bit.ly/2rCglzY For news, stories, highlights and more, go to our official website at http://www.nba.com Get NBA LEAGUE PASS: http://www.nba.com/leaguepass
I’ve learned a lot from Kyrie Irving this year, through his experience and winning mentality and how he goes about scoring the ball. He’s taught me and Jayson Tatum a lot about taking up space, being aggressive, getting angles, body position and stuff like that, but also just his approach. Kyrie is very dedicated to his craft. I recognize that and watch everything that he does.
This season has been kind of crazy. Victor Oladipo goes to the Pacers, Paul George goes to OKC, Melo goes to OKC, Gordon Hayward comes here to Boston, Isaiah Thomas and Kyrie switch teams from the Celtics to the Cavs, everything’s been crazy. But that’s the NBA, that’s the business we live in.
Ben Simmons is a great player. What he can do with the ball at his size, his handling ability and his athleticism is fantastic. And he can also pass. That’s what makes him so special. But in terms of Rookie of the Year, I’m going with my man Jayson Tatum.”