You have been called to speak at MIT? Me neither. A Jaylen Brown yes. "The Boston Celtics player has been headlining at the last of the ML Talks organized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to discuss creativity, design, artificial intelligence, ethics, human rights … And he was also in Harvard, talking about education, and at the fashion week in Paris, and at the Bloomberg Technology Summit, and with so many soirees, we will forget that a couple of days ago he started a new season in the NBA.
Jailen Brown did internships at a California venture capital firm
"Many times we see this as something separate: education, technology, sports, music … And many times we forget to build bridges and connections," he reasons. His interlocutor is David Sun Kong, director of the community initiative of Biotechnology of MediaLab at MIT. And biologist. And DJ. And Photographer. "What do you think of antidisciplinary learning?" Asks the athlete. Although Brown has temporarily interrupted his studies at Berkeley to devote himself fully to his duties in the NBA, his training is in constant movement.
He learned Spanish on his own. Plays the piano. He did internships at Base Venture, a California venture capital firm. He is learning Arabic. He made his first steps in bahasa, the Indonesian language, when he visited the country during his holidays. "I want to go deeper into this, not necessarily get to speak it fluently, but be able to translate, I think trying to communicate with people in their language has great power," he says. He also started playing the guitar by self-taught, although now he goes to classes.
– What are you reading now?–, asks Sun Kong.
– A book called Types of brains. The team doctor gave it to me. It's weird, but very entertaining. Understanding the brains of people helps you interact with them.
Brown has not done disgust or Twitch, the popular platform of streaming for gamers. And that in the institute was dedicated to such American-style tasks as captaining the chess team. "I think it's the best thing I learned as a kid, because when I started making tough decisions like choosing a university, chess helped me think long-term."
- A new race of athletes
Jaylen Brown has had to endure being considered by some as "too smart to be in the NBA" or even "for his own good". Besides having labeled these comments as racist, he does not consider himself especially different from other athletes and tries to distance himself from those who try to silence him with arguments such as: "We are paying you millions of dollars, we do not want to see you at MIT, we do not want to see you talk about education. We just want to see you in Boston playing basketball. "
"This has changed a lot in recent years, society puts a lot of pressure on athletes only being athletes, athletes have an influence and a voice, my obsession is that they do not pigeonhole me," he says. The epiphany was in the office of P. Diddy -rapero, choreographer, actor, producer and businessman-, with whom he met through a common friend. "He was trying to sell me Aquahydrate – the alkaline water brand he funds with Malk Walberg, among others – but I was not interested, he asked me: 'Why are you here?' Then I started thinking about what my influence is and my purpose and how can I help people. "
That his voice sounds strongly in matters of racial discrimination is partly a consequence of his time in Berkeley. "I started to learn about the multiple inequalities and social injustices, there is a name for the subtle racist stereotypes that are seen in education systems, I did not know, I thought it was something casual, and when I discovered that this happens by design, I started to get passionate" . And that is why he is a strong advocate of education as a way to build a real social equilibrium. "I hope to be part of a generation where everything starts to become more egalitarian, so that we can get involved, not just as business people, teachers or technology experts, but as human beings."
On the way to that future, Brown recommends MIT students share what they learn, to maximize the benefits of their knowledge. "Many academies are very private and they retain their information, spread the word, uncle, people like me are happy to read about biomechanics, and this kind of thing is what is going to drive change and is going to affect our future."
Is there a balance between the Brown athlete and the activist? "There is no dichotomy," he insists. "I am the intersection of everything, I represent the Celtics, the University of Berkeley, my family, myself … When I go out, I am part of all that, and there are bridges: between basketball and technology , between technology and education, the key is to look at them as a whole, not as separate entities. " So, what does the Renaissance baloncestist think about antidisciplinarity? "I discovered that term half an hour ago, but I think it's basically learning different things and combining them, and I understand that's why I'm here."