Celtics guard Jaylen Brown had a lot on his mind going into the biggest matchup of the NBA season. But instead of ignoring the game, or ignoring his feelings, he channeled his emotions into his play and came up with a huge night.
He told reporters after helping defeat the Warriors 92-88 that he dedicated the game to Trevin Steede, his best friend since high school who died the night before. And it's pretty tear-jerking to see him pay his respects.
"I knew coming in today that he would've wanted me to play," Brown told a cluster of reporters. Brown talked about speaking to his high school friend's family inspired him to go out and play for him.
Brown then told the story about how he met his Steede, another basketball player at the high school he just transferred to. Brown speculates that ultimately, he took Steede's spot on the team, but that threat didn't stop Steede from reaching out.
"I remember I didn't have any friends, sitting at the lunch table. The first few days, I sat by myself, acting like I'm too cool, I didn't need anybody. I'm an introvert—I'll be alright. He walked up to me on the third or fourth day, asking me who I was sitting with, even though I wasn't sitting with anybody. And he told me to come over and sit with him. And ever since then, we've been best friends."
Oof. You can hear his voice break with emotion a few times, and you can tell he's still grappling with the reality of it all.
But the 2016 3rd-overall draft pick dug down deep and came up with an incredible night, accounting for nearly a quarter of the Celtics points against the NBA's reining champions. His stat line read 22 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals. He also threw down this powerful dunk:
You can almost see what he's going through in his body language.
And in case you want to get a feel for his friendship with Steede, here's a long video of them shit-talking and playing ball: