Jaylen Brown missed the Celtics' victory in Charlotte on New Year's Eve as he fights a sinus infection but he made sure he was well enough to spend part of his New Year's Day at the Massachusetts State House, where he was honored by state Sen. Nick Collins for his philanthropic work with children in Boston.
"This is the stuff that keeps me going and motivates me and gets me out of bed even if I’m a little bit under the weather,” Brown said.
Brown's work with his own Juice Foundation, with "No Books No Ball" - which uses basketball, academics and community engagement to motivate urban youth - and with the Boys and Girls Club of Boston was recognized by Collins, who represents the 1st Suffolk District.
Brown also met, took questions from and posed for pictures with more than 100 local kids. He was joined at the event by his mother Mechalle.
“Children are the future," Brown said. "Children are the ones that are paving the way for the next generation and carrying the torch, so, teaching them the right way, showing them the right values, the right way to do things, is important to me because they’re going to grow up and they’re going to be the next people to carry the throne so they’ve gotta be handled and taken care of the right way.”
“My mom is part of the foundation,” Brown said. "She’s definitely taught me to be a man that thinks for himself and also be a man of the people. Having my mom here when people celebrate you for some of the things that she raised me on, I’m sure it’s a good feeling for her.”
The 23-year-old, in his fourth NBA season, signed a four-year, $115 million contract with the Celtics in October, grew up near Atlanta, went to college for a year at Cal-Berkeley, but said his charity work is part of a future he wants to establish in Boston.
“This is now a part of my home... I definitely want to be a part of the change in the community. I think that Boston has, over the last 10 years has definitely come a long way and I think we’ve still got some ways to go,” Brown said.
On the court, Brown is having the best season of his career, averaging 20.6 points, seven rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. He told NBC Sports Boston that despite his recent illness, he'll be good to go Friday night when the Celtics host the Atlanta Hawks.
Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Hawks, which tips off Friday at 6:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike and Tommy have the call at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.