Finals MVP Jaylen Brown on grandma, Bill Russell, Jayson Tatum




Celtics

“Grandma, I know she was watching, and I love you so much.”

Finals MVP Jaylen Brown on grandma, Bill Russell, Jayson Tatum
Jaylen Brown took home NBA Finals MVP honors on Monday. (Barry Chin/Globe Staff)

With the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP trophy planted next to him, Celtics star Jaylen Brown fielded several questions from the media after Boston won its 18th championship late Monday night at TD Garden.

Here are a few highlights from the Finals MVP’s press conference after the Celtics’ title run concluded. 

Taking home Finals MVP 

Brown was candid after the Celtics punched their ticket to the NBA Finals via a four-game sweep over the Pacers last month. 

“I wasn’t expecting that at all. I don’t ever win [expletive],” Brown said after taking home the Larry Bird Trophy as MVP of the Eastern Conference Finals. “So, I was just happy that we won.”

A few weeks later, Brown now has another trophy to add to his resume — the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP. 

The 27-year-old swingman delivered throughout Boston’s series against the Mavericks, scoring 21 points and adding eight rebounds in Boston’s Game 5 clincher on Monday night.

Over five games against Dallas, Brown averaged 20.8 points, 5.4 rebounds. 5.0 assists, and 1.6 steals per game — playing elite defense against one of the top scorers in the league in Luka Doncic. 

Brown was one of several deserving candidates for Finals MVP, with teammate Jayson Tatum putting together a spirited, last-minute push with a 31-point, eight-rebound, and 11-assist masterclass in Game 5. 

“I can’t even put into words — the emotions,” Brown said. “It’s just I’m blessed and I’m grateful. This was a full team effort. We had a great team. My teammates were great. They allowed me to lead us on both ends of ball, and we just came out and performed on our home floor. It’s just amazing.  You know, it could have gone to anybody. 

“It could have gone to Jayson. Jayson, like I can’t talk enough about his selflessness. You know, I can’t talk enough about his attitude. It’s just how he approached not just this series or the Finals but just the playoffs in general. And we did it together as a team, and that was the most important thing.”

Considering their intertwined history and essential roles in Boston’s contention window, Brown expressed relief that both he and Tatum can finally share a title together after being doubted time and time again. 

“We’ve been through a lot,” Brown said of both himself and Tatum. “We’ve been playing together for seven years now. We’ve been through a lot, the losses, the expectations. The media have said all different types of things: We can’t play together, we are never going to win.

“We heard it all. But we just blocked it out, and we just kept going. I trusted him. He trusted me. And we did it together. To get to this point and share that experience with JT is just awesome, you know what I mean? It’s amazing, and it feels great.”

Brown tips cap to Russell

Considering Brown’s emphasis on social justice and community outreach throughout his tenure with the Celtics, the fact that he was the one to take home the NBA Finals MVP trophy — named after legend Bill Russell — held special meaning to him. 

“To be honest, I can’t even put it into words,” Brown said. “Just Bill Russell and what he’s meant for me through my Boston journey, and his spirit. You know, everything that he stood for, just for this to be the Bill Russell MVP Award, it just — I’ve got nothing, man. I don’t even know what to say. It’s unreal.” 

Back-to-back? 

It didn’t take long for Brown to field a question about whether or not this Celtics core has the means to run it back in 2024-25. Beyond questions regarding Al Horford’s age, the Celtics are expected to retain all of their starters and key cogs on the roster next year, including Brown, Tatum, Jrue Holiday, Kristaps Porzingis, and Derrick White. 

“I think we have an opportunity,” Brown said. “I think we definitely have a window. We take it one day at a time. We definitely have to make sure we stay healthy. But, you know, we’ll enjoy the summer, enjoy the moment, and then we get right back to it next year.” 

“I know she was watching.”

Brown was brought to tears at the end of his press conference while reflecting on his grandmother, Dianne Varnado, who passed away in March 2023. He wore a shirt featuring a photo of her earlier this week during practice at TD Garden. 

“I wish my grandmother was here with me to see this moment,” Brown said. “But I woke up from my pregame nap, and I had a dream, and my grandma was in the dream, and she gave me a hug this afternoon. I just knew everything was going to be all right.

“But I wish she could be here. But she was so important and pivotal in my life. And it’s just awesome. I know she would be proud of me. Grandma, I know she was watching, and I love you so much.”





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