UCLA Basketball Player Whose Viral Video Inspired Us To Keep Our Heads Up Signs To NBA Team
The GIF and video of Jaylen Hands lifting up Brown's chin is now used widely on social media.
April 07, 2021 at 10:56 pm
Moses Brown, the star of a now-iconic and uplifting GIF, was officially signed to a contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder late last month, according to a release from the team.
ESPN's Royce Young reported that the deal is for four years and is worth $6.8 million, with the second and third years being non-guaranteed and the fourth having a team option.
The contract was a sweet bookend to how people on social media were introduced to Brown.
The 7'2" player and his teammate, Jaylen Hands, became famous for an interaction that happened at the end of an overtime game between UCLA and Oregon.
While UCLA was down by two points and in a critical stretch of the game, Brown was passed the ball. He fumbled it before throwing a bad pass out of bounds.
He began walking back up the floor in shame with his head down when Hands came up next to him and lifted his chin up, reminding the teen to not get down about a bad play.
The moment was hailed as the pinnacle of leadership for Hands and a lesson for Brown.
Now both players have fought their way into the big leagues.
Brown declared for the draft after his freshman year but went unsigned, eventually latching on to a summer league team for the Houston Rockets and a G-League affiliate of the Portland Trail Blazers.
He began posting gaudy state numbers before the season shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In December, the Oklahoma City Thunder signed Brown to a temporary contract and he was assigned to the team's G-League affiliate, where he dominated for weeks. By late February, he had won G-League Player of the Week and was starting to get noticed by team officials who saw a future in him.
“It had been apparent that he was a worker and he’s a really good kid and that he’s somebody that had showed improvement by that point,” Oklahoma City Thunder coach Mark Daigneault told OKCThunder Wire.
“That’s why we put him on the court the way we did right away coming out of All-Star break, and he’s progressed nicely. It’s only the beginning, hopefully, of his time here,” Daigneault added.
He was eventually moved up to the NBA squad on March 14 as the team sought to see whether he could handle the real thing. For weeks now, he has put up commendable numbers, averaging 12.4 points, 12.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 27.7 minutes per game.
But on March 27, Brown had the game of his life, grabbing team record-tying 23 rebounds and scoring 21 points.
The next day, the team announced the four-year pact with Brown.
“I just wanted to come out and set the tone with my energy and just being active around the basket. Just knowing how to get space and knowing how to box out. Just utilizing my height and my strength,” Brown told NBA.com.
Hands is also in the NBA after being drafted 56th by the Brooklyn Nets. He was traded to the Detroit Pistons in 2020.
After graduating high school, he made his way to UCLA, where he had an uneven freshman season and showed signs of a potentially promising career.