The NBA officially announced the rosters for its NBA Africa Game 2017, an exhibition matchup between a team of NBA players originally from the continent of Africa and a world team, made up of players with origins from elsewhere in the globe. The game is scheduled to take place on August 5 and will include Boston Celtics wing Jaylen Brown (as a member of the world team).
The selection is somewhat surprising. Brown is slightly less established than many of the game’s other participants. For those that follow the Celtics closely, however, his invitation may make more sense. The entire point of the game is to increase the NBA’s presence and popularity, and Brown is a decidedly endearing individual.
On the court, he’s eccentric, with his short shorts and general inability to form his face into a traditional smile (trust me on this one). He has prodigious athleticism without a fully developed game to take advantage of it, which makes his best moves revelations and his worst ones somewhat painful. Watching Brown play basketball is something like watching a puppy grow into his body—which is to say delightful.
Off the court, at least from afar, Brown appears to be an extremely kind and thoughtful person. Just this week he hosted a party for his fellow Summer Leaguers, an affair he was willing to put on with his own money. That’s the kind of person you want to function as a brand ambassador, particularly in a global context. Genuine concern for others goes a long way in approaching cultural competence.
Brown may not see a ton of playing time, but his inclusion is a good call by the league. He might not be the most well-known player the NBA has to offer, but he’s one of its more interesting young characters.