Several members of the Celtics have been active across the country by taking part in peaceful protests after the death of George Floyd. Jaylen Brown drove 15 hours to his hometown of Atlanta to lead a march on Sunday. Marcus Smart, Vincent Poirier and Enes Kanter were among several members of the Celtics organization spotted taking part in protests in Boston on Sunday afternoon.
Brad Stevens praised those players and the entire organization’s response over the past few days. He was also part of a call with all 30 NBA head coaches over the weekend, which led to a statement being put out Monday that announced the creation of a committee on racial injustice and reform to pursue solutions within NBA cities.
“I think it’s been great,” Stevens said in a zoom conference on Tuesday of his players' activism. “I think, in paying attention from afar but also having individual conversations with everybody on our team and knowing, obviously, what’s happened has been appalling and been brutal and been hurtful and painful. I’m really — and I’ve said this many times, I think the NBA is amazing. I think our players are amazing. We’re lucky that we have such great people representing us with the Celtics. I can’t say enough good things.”
Brown has been active in the community throughout his tenure with Boston, but he has been at the forefront of activism by NBA players, something that has specifically impressed his head coach.
“Jaylen’s greatest impact, as good as he is at basketball, won’t be in basketball,” Stevens said. “He’s a special guy, he’s a special leader, he’s smart but he has courage. He’s got a lot of great stuff to him, and I think we recognized that when we drafted him, but I think that he has been even more unbelievable every day, every year. I’ve always personally really enjoyed listening to him and talking to him about things outside of basketball. He told me he was going down there on Thursday, and obviously I certainly am not surprised by him taking a leadership role. That’s who he is.”
Stevens also said he wrote a letter to his players in the wake of Floyd’s death to let them know he is with them amid their pain from the tragic situation.