United Nations

Why Malcolm Brogdon Spoke at UN General Assembly on Celtics' Off Day

Brogdon takes up special cause at UN General Assembly on C's off day originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics had a rare late-season off day Thursday, giving their players some much-needed rest and relaxation time before the final playoff push.

Or in the case of Malcolm Brogdon, giving them the opportunity to address a global issue in front of world leaders.

In an interview with Abby Chin on Friday, the Celtics guard revealed that he traveled to New York on Wednesday to speak at the United Nations Global Assembly in front of prime ministers, presidents and delegates from governments across the globe.

The topic was one close to Brogdon's heart: expanding access to clean water.

"I think it's the first time in maybe about 50 years that the General Assembly has been focused on clean water," Brogdon told Chin. "I only spoke for two or three minutes, but I just spoke on my passion for water, what I've done so far with my foundation and what I hope to do and impact in the future."

Brogdon's interest in this cause began with an assist from a fellow University of Virginia alum and former New England athlete: ex-Patriots defensive end Chris Long.

When Brogdon was with the Milwaukee Bucks earlier in his NBA career, he partnered with Long, who was already doing clean water work in East Africa with his "Waterboys" initative. (Long discussed that work at length with Tom E. Curran on a recent Patriots Talk Podcast, which you can watch below.)

When Brogdon launched his own foundation, the Brogdon Family Foundation, in 2020, he followed in Long's footsteps by creating Hoops4Humanity, an initiative that helps provide underserved communities access to clean water -- particularly in East Africa, where Brogdon has traveled to Kenya and Tanzania in recent years to help build clean water wells.

The impact of a community having easy access to clean water can't be overstated, Brogdon says.

"What we've found is water as a whole disproportionately impacts women and children," Brogdon told Chin. "When a community doesn't have clean water, oftentimes the women, young girls and children have to travel kilometers to go find clean water.

"A lot of the time they can be killed by animals. They can get lost. A lot of them deal with rape and deal with all types of things when they're on these long journeys, and then they miss their education. They miss school while they're gone and having to fetch clean water. So it really has an impact on the community as a whole.

"... Clean water for them really is life. It changes the whole community. It changes the landscape of everything."

To hear more from Brogdon on his experience at the UN General Assembly, his advocacy for clean water and how he balances his off-court work with his basketball day job, check out his full interview in the video player above.

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