There’s plenty of reasons fans of the Boston Celtics are celebrating Jaylen Brown’s new supermax contract extension. Brown’s an All-NBA forward just stepping into his prime, and the deal ensures Boston maintains one of the most prolific cores in the league for the foreseeable future. For Hall of Famer Paul Pierce, however, the extension represents so much more.
In an interview with Heavy’s Steve Bulpett, the 10-time All-Star explained why he thinks Brown’s new supermax contract is a home run for both sides. Specifically, it’s what Brown does off the court and within the Boston community that makes the deal so important to Pierce. He believes the Celtics considered Brown’s values and history of service when constructing a new deal alongside all of the basketball Xs and Os.
“Shoot, I’m happy for him,” Pierce said. “You know what, Jaylen is a smart guy and his value to the city goes beyond basketball. You can tell from what he’s said. I think the Celtics looked at all of that.”
Brown inked a five-year, $304 million deal in July of the 2023 offseason, the richest contract in NBA history to date. After years of trade rumors and speculation, it was a loud endorsement of Brown and what he has offered the Celtics since joining the club in 2016.
“When you invest that much in somebody,” Pierce said. “It usually is something that can go beyond basketball — especially when you’re talking about the richest deal in NBA history.”
Brown’s passion for social justice is well known. During the press conference held immediately after he signed his deal, he spoke about investing in the Black community in Boston, for example. Pierce believes the Celtics organization values these things in assessing a player’s long-term value.
“His influence, who he is as a person, you take that all into account,” Pierce stated. “So you have to feel good giving it to somebody, and I know they feel good because of his influence, not only on the court but off the court.”
Pierce spent 15 seasons with the Boston Celtics, and is one of the most celebrated players in the team’s recent history. He continues to be a presence on the sidelines and with the team.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing, and Pierce’s relationship with the Celtics and the city had fractures, especially when the team struggled. Pierce believes similar some criticisms and doubt around Brown will fade with time because he puts in the work to always be better.
“That’s on the court and off the court, and that’s what you want to see from a player, a person,” Pierce said. “Basketball’s his job, but he’s more than a basketball player. People are really going to appreciate that even more as time goes on.”
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