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Celtics’ Jaylen Brown makes surprising addition to list of past NBA stars he would most like to play against

Before suiting up with other current All-Stars, Celtics forward Jaylen Brown spoke about his favorite players from previous generations.

During his All-Star Media Day session on Saturday afternoon, Brown was asked a simple, yet difficult question: Which players from other eras would he want to face on the court? The 26-year-old’s initial list featured some of the best scorers in NBA history.

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“There’s a lot of guys. It’s hard to choose one,” Brown said. “There’s a lot of great players from different times. Kobe [Bryant] would have been great, [Michael] Jordan, Dominique Wilkins. There’s a lot of players — Tracy McGrady — that I admired growing up.”

But then Brown made a surprising addition. He named a player who only earned two All-Star selections in his career but undoubtedly made an incredible impact on his way to the Hall of Fame.

“Manu Ginobili, I think he retired my first year in the league, but I wish I would have got to play against him maybe in his prime,” Brown said.

MORE: Describing Manu Ginobili’s career in six words or less

As Brown noted, he only crossed paths with Ginobili a few times before the Argentinian legend retired. Ginobili’s Spurs met Brown’s Celtics during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. Brown played limited minutes as a rookie, and Ginobili missed one of the two matchups the following season.

At that stage, Ginobili was well past his prime, and Brown had not yet emerged as a wing capable of dominating on both ends of the floor.

While Ginobili remained an effective player late in his career — he made significant contributions to a championship team in his mid-30s — attempting to stop him at his athletic peak was a different type of challenge. Ginobili would drive defenders crazy with his fakes, footwork and fancy finishes.

Brown clearly recognized what made Ginobili so special. Unfortunately for NBA fans, they’ll never be able to watch Brown and Ginobili engage in a one-on-one battle — and what a battle that would have been.


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