Jaylen Brown Caps Career Year with NBA Finals MVP: 'Can't Even Put it into Words'

Jun 17, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) holds the MVP trophy after winning the 2024 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 17, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) holds the MVP trophy after winning the 2024 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports / Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
In this story:

Jaylen Brown responded to an All-NBA campaign, committing a career-high eight turnovers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals as he admirably tried to compensate for Jayson Tatum's ankle injury, but instead endured perhaps the lowest moment of his career, and signing a record-setting veteran supermax extension by delivering the best season of his eight in the Association.

His evolution may not have included a second straight All-NBA selection or a spot on an All-Defensive team, but he played that caliber of basketball. And his evolution defied his doubters.

Brown's growth as a facilitatordefender, and leader was essential to the Celtics reaching the NBA summit.

After his ascent earned him Eastern Conference Finals MVP, which genuinely surprised him, he led Boston to Banner 18 and captured the Bill Russell Award for an encore.

The shock on Brown's face when NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced he was the 2024 NBA Finals MVP and the weight of the emotions he felt in that moment brushing him back is a visual this author will remember forever.

"To be honest, I can't even put it into words," voiced the three-time All-Star when he arrived at the post-game podium. "Just Bill Russell and what he's meant for me through my Boston journey and his spirit. 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."

Brown generated 20.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.6 steals, and nearly a block per game in the NBA Finals. He finished the Celtics' 106-88 thrashing of the Mavericks in the championship clincher with 21 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and two steals.

"I can't even put into words the emotions," said the Marietta, Georgia native about winning the Bill Russell Award. "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 (the) ball, and we just came out and performed on our home floor. It's just amazing.

"It could have gone to anybody. It could have gone to Jayson (Tatum). Jayson, like I can't talk enough about his selflessness. I can't talk enough about his attitude. It's just how he approached -- not just this series or the Finals, but the playoffs in general. And we did it together as a team, and that was the most important thing."

Brown, who has had to deal with skeptics, trade rumors, and people telling him what he can't be throughout his career, expressed regarding the vindication he feels reaching the NBA mountain top with Eastern Conference and NBA Finals MVP awards in hand, "If you would have asked me that maybe a year ago, I would probably say yeah. But at the point (that) I got to right now -- it feels great. But any of the personal awards, it is what it is.

"Yeah, the doubters, they may be quiet now, but they will be back. They will be back next year with something to say. I'll embrace that moment the same and get after it yet again."

When asked to encapsulate his journey, it understandably took Brown a moment to channel his emotions into thoughts on what he just accomplished.

"I can't. I can't. I absolutely can't, man. Just the story and the journey is awesome. Being drafted here in Boston, like a lot of the people probably didn't watch me play in the Pac-12 at Cal. It led to a lot of people feeling a way about that.

"And I just came in and kept my head down and told myself, 'I'm going to just keep working.' And to be here in this moment now, through all the years, through all the doubt, through all of the ups and downs, through all of the verdicts, through all of the everything, it just makes the story that much sweeter. But I can't even put it into words. Like, it just feels great."

Brown, who wore a shirt honoring his grandmother, Dianne Varnado, to practice a day before becoming an NBA champion, said "it means a lot" to achieve his ultimate goal with his Mom and brother by his side and people he's built the 7uice Foundation with.

"I wish my grandmother was here with me to see this moment. 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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Bobby Krivitsky

BOBBY KRIVITSKY

Bobby Krivitsky's experiences include covering the NBA as a credentialed reporter for Basketball Insiders. He's also a national sports talk host for SportsMap Radio, a network airing on 96 radio stations throughout the country. Additionally, he was a major-market host, update anchor, and producer for IMG Audio, and he worked for Bleacher Report as an NFL and NBA columnist.