How A 23-Year-Old NBA Star Honored George Floyd And Inspired Millions

Jaylen Brown used his platform in a meaningful way this past weekend, David Shepard says, proving that actions speak louder than words

CBS Sports Radio Weekend
June 01, 2020 - 12:58 pm
Jaylen Brown Celtics

USA Today Images


Many NBA fans will tell you that Celtics guard Jaylen Brown is one of the favorites for Most Improved Player this season. Given what we have seen from Brown these past few days, he very well may be the MVP of any sport. 

Most of us have witnessed the horrifying video of George Floyd's death at the hands of a white police officer. The officer kneeled on Floyd's neck for several minutes. It was upsetting and heart-breaking to watch the last few minutes of Floyd's life. The Celtics star made sure to use every bit of his platform to send a powerful message to not just those in power, but the entire world on Saturday night.

The phrase "never forget where you came from" is often uttered to those who we know are destined for greatness. Brown completely embodies this concept. He has been in Boston for the past four years. He was in Berkeley, California, before that. He drove FIFTEEN hours to protest in Atlanta, which is about a 20-minute drive southeast of his native Marietta, Georgia. He NEEDED to be a leader for his community in a time of so much pain.

"I drove 15 hours to get to Georgia, my community," Brown said. This is a peaceful protest. Being a celebrity, being an NBA player, don't exclude me from no conversations at all. First and foremost, I'm a black man and I'm a member of this community. We're raising awareness for some of the injustices that we've been seeing. It's not OK. As a young person, you've got to listen to our perspective. Our voices need to be heard. I'm 23 years old. I don't know all of the answers. But I feel how everybody else is feeling, for sure. No question."

So many people with the platform of a Jaylen Brown, the .01%, are posting their frustrations and a call to action on social media for their millions of followers. Brown knows a post doesn't create lasting change. Action is always louder than words. He didn't just participate in a peaceful protest; he LED it. He also spoke so profoundly at it. At 23 years old, mind you. It's not an accident that he is also Vice President of the NBA Players Association.  It's worth mentioning that during this peaceful protest, Brown was told that three people were wrongfully arrested. Brown sought to find out the names of these people and resolve this situation immediately. 

If you inspire one life on this earth for the better, that is a powerful act. Jaylen, with his heart, wisdom, sense of justice and message, certainly did that for me. He also did that for millions of others on Saturday at a time where we need strong leadership more than ever. I truly believe this is how you honor George Floyd and the Floyd family. That's how you honor a life taken way soon. You save the next one and ultimately play a part in ending these senseless injustices once and for all. That's what using a platform for the better is all about. His voice was more than just heard, it was acted upon and exemplary for the next generation who we can only hope will grow up in a better world. 

CBS Sports Radio producer David Shepard is a former ESPN researcher, a former Division I college basketball practice player, and the host of The Good Shepard YouTube channel. Follow him on Twitter @TheGoodShepard_.