Who is Terrence Clarke? Celtics’ Jaylen Brown honors ‘little brother’ at All-Star Dunk Contest

Jaylen Brown showed out at the Slam Dunk Contest and the Celtics All-Star made sure to pay tribute to a late friend on the national stage.

Brown advanced to the Slam Dunk Contest Finals after putting together the second-best score behind eventual champion Mac McClung in the first round. To kick off the final round, Brown used a wardrobe change to build up the hype for his attempt.

He shed his Celtics uniform, revealing a jersey from Brewster Academy, a powerhouse prep school located in Wolfeboro, N.H.

The No. 5 jersey was for Terrence Clarke, a 2021 NBA Draft prospect from Dorchester, Mass. who was killed in a car crash just three months before his opportunity to get selected into the NBA.

Who is Clark and what was his relationship with Brown? The Sporting News takes a closer look below.

MORE: Mac McClung captures second consecutive Slam Dunk Contest title

Who is Terrence Clarke?

Clarke was a Brewster Academy alum and University of Kentucky basketball player who had hopes of being selected in the 2021 NBA Draft. He was projected as a first-round pick going into his freshman season and declared for the draft after his first year.

In April 2021, Clarke was killed in a car accident after leaving a workout in the Los Angeles area with his teammate Brandon Boston Jr. The 19-year-old was just three months away from living out his dream of becoming an NBA player.

At the 2021 NBA Draft, the league recognized Clarke by selecting the late prospect in between the 14th and 15th picks. NBA commissioner Adam Silver made the ceremonial pick as Clarke’s mother, Osmine, brother, Gavin, and sister, Tatyana, accepted the honor on Terrence’s behalf.

What is Terrence Clarke’s relationship with Jaylen Brown?

Brown was one of the first players to suggest that the NBA still selects Clarke, out of respect, in the 2021 draft.

Brown had developed a relationship with the Dorchester, Mass. native during their crossover in the Boston area, referring to Clarke as his “little brother.”

“Terrence and me, we had a unique relationship,” Brown said in an interview with The Athletic back in 2021.

“Terrence was the little brother I never had. Always at my house, going through my closet, playing video games. I’m like, ‘Don’t you got school? What are you doing?’ He was just always hanging out.”

When Clarke’s local gym, the Roxbury Vine Street Community Center, dedicated its court to the late draft prospect, Brown delivered thoughtful, heavy words to Clarke’s mother.

“We continue to speak lively on his name. Terrence is still alive and he’s going to continue to live forever,” Brown said. “… As long as me, Jayson [Tatum], [Marcus] Smart, Aaron [Nesmith] (are) here, Terrence is one of us,” Brown said. “A piece of him is with us.”

Nearly three years later, Brown paid respect to Clarke again, this time on a national stage at the 2024 Slam Dunk Contest.

Jaylen Brown’s tribute dunk to Terrence Clarke

Brown was rocking Clarke’s No. 5 Brewster Academy jersey as the All-Star LED court lit up the paint with a portrait of the late NBA Draft prospect.

Brown threw down a 360 windmill before gesturing the No. 5 and a heart with his hands, then tapping his own heart.

Brown was rewarded with a score of 48.6 for the dunk and tribute.

After the Slam Dunk Contest, Brown explained his decision to show love to Clarke.

“Terrence was like my little bro. Definitely a Boston connection. I wanted to have a purpose in everything that I was doing. I wanted everything to have a message behind it, and I think that’s what I did tonight.”

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