Jaylen Brown named MIT Media Lab Director's Fellow

Boston Celtics wing Jaylen Brown has been named a Director's Fellow of the MIT Media Lab.

Brown, who has also worked with Harvard to host talks for their Askwith Essentials lecture series, now will take part in an MIT program designed to, as the program describes it, "...collaborate on projects with students and faculty, serve as advisers, bring a project idea into the Lab or work on projects together".

Joined by a diverse group including the mayor of Stockton, California, a director of an indigenous clinic in Mexico, a founder of one of the world's biggest skateboarding companies, a former White House Presidential Innovation Fellow, a Navajo sustainability specialist, an advocate for minority higher education, a Polynesian apprentice navigator, an oceans conservation consultant, a Marshallese poet, and a law enforcement digital crimes capabilities expert, Brown will be formally affiliated with the group for two years.

A more cogent explanation for assembling such a complex and unusual group of individuals? According to the organization's press release announcing the new cohort of fellow, director Joi Ito said:

"My intention was to bring a wide range of voices into the Media Lab that we might not otherwise hear because I firmly believe that technology and engineering alone cannot address the complexity of the challenges we face in today’s world ... Addressing an issue as complex as climate change or public health require solutions involving philosophy and politics and anthropology -- a range of knowledge, skills and talents that we don’t necessarily have at the Lab.”

Anything at the intersection of anthropology and basketball is sure to catch my eye, and I'm curious to see what will come out of such an association.

Brown, who has positioned himself before as a leading voice in the NBA in trying to connect venture capitalists, CEOs, and innovators with athletes to spur new projects and ideas that may be beneficial not just to player careers and investments but society more generally, seems to enjoy seeking out synergy in life, a skill that could also translate to team-building in the future.

In a league being transformed by increasingly synergetic partnerships between sports science, medicine, analytics, and innovative approaches to the business side of things, having a eye to the future could be a huge benefit down the road a few seasons -- so long as the present isn't sacrificed in the process.

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Image: H. Zhu/Harvard Crimson
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