Markel Brown has had quite a week. On Sunday, the Brooklyn Nets rookie guard scored a career-high 17 points, including this vicious dunk in a win against the Lakers. On Thursday, Head Coach Lionel Hollins compared him to grit-n-grind lynchpin Tony Allen, and his active defense helped the Nets climb back into the playoff race.
In his busy schedule, Brown took the time to give back. Before starting in the Nets’ 111-106 win over the Pacers on Tuesday, Markel Brown paid a visit to the New York League for Early Learning’s (NYL) Greenpoint preschool for children with disabilities.
Brown read to the preschoolers, who were enthralled by their guest. In what Brown calls the most memorable moment of his visit, one student jumped up into his lap and hugged him. “It was a great experience to be there and put a smile on their face,” Brown said. Known for his work ethic, he encouraged the students at NYL to “never give up,” and told them that “anything is possible with hard work.”
Brandi Horton, Manager of Donor Relations for YAI Network (of which NYL is a member), raved about Brown’s rapport with the children. “He was a natural,” she said. “The students really took to him. They’re all talking about how they want to play basketball now.”
Brown first got involved with the YAI Network by attending their gala in October. His presence there was “really touching,” Horton said, as he had flown in from China that afternoon.
Brown has engaged in a number of service projects throughout his rookie year: in September, he joined teammates Cory Jefferson and Sergey Karasev at P.S. 196 in Bushwick to promote healthy eating, and he distributed sandwiches to homeless people in New Orleans in February.
Brown says that his uncles and grandmother, who he identified as his childhood role models, instilled him with a commitment to service. “All of my family: my uncles, cousins, grandmother, they’ve all given to me. That humbled me. The way they looked out for me showed me it’s important for me to look out for others.”
“I haven’t always had everything that I wanted,” he acknowledged. “You never know how you can help someone who’s struggling. It’s always important to give back.”