Celts' Brown 'inspired' after best friend's death

Joann Johnston
November 18, 2017

"I wasn't in any shape to come out; I didn't want to leave my room", Brown said.

The C's overcame a 17-point deficit to capture an impressive 92-88 win as they showed why they now have the best defence in the National Basketball Association by limiting the league's best offence to its lowest points total of the campaign.

Brown responded with one of the best, and most emotional, performances of his young career.

Brown told Brad Stevens Thursday he wasn't sure he could play so soon after the death of his childhood friend Trevin Steede until he got a call from Steede's mom encouraging him to play in Steede's memory.

"I just felt like I was out there playing, like I didn't know who was out there", said Brown.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said in his postgame conference that it's been "a tough 24 hours" for the forward, who nearly elected not to play Thursday night.

After a 92-88 win over the Warriors where he scored 22 points, Brown told reporters that his best friend passed away the night before the game. You know, I mean, like I'm an introvert. I transferred school to play basketball at Wheeler High School (in Marietta, Ga.). "I came out and played in his spirit".

"It was hard kind of getting my thoughts together, but after talking to his mom and his family, they inspired me to come out and play", he told reporters. My teammates held me up and we pulled it out.

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Immediately after Thursday's game, Kyrie Irving sought out Brown and gave him the game ball. It's never a good thing when someone else is going through it.

Brown was an essential reason why the Celtics extended their winning streak to 14 games. Brown recalled sitting alone at lunch during his first few days at school, until Steede, one of his new basketball teammates, invited Brown to sit with him.

"He walked up to me on the third or fourth day, and asked me who I was sitting with, even though I wasn't sitting with anybody", Brown continued, holding back tears. And it's left for Jaylen Brown, just 21 years old, to go out and play the game of his life, and to do so because his buddy's family wanted it that way.

The Celtics experienced this type of situation last season when Isaiah Thomas played through the death of his sister during the playoffs. They knew that I was down.

"A couple hours before [Thursday's game], I was talking to Brad, and I told Brad I didn't think I was going to be able to do it", Brown said.

Brown's willingness to play under such circumstances meant a lot to his teammates, as well.

"I told him before the game", said Irving, "'the physical presence that you lost, that was just a physical realm.

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