Jaylen Brown grateful for setbacks during Kyrie Irving's Boston Celtics tenure

2024 NBA Finals - Game Two
2024 NBA Finals - Game Two / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Jaylen Brown is grateful for the setbacks he experienced during Kyrie Irving's Boston Celtics tenure -- mainly, his benching for Marcus Smart, who Irving was reportedly closer with, and all of the trade rumors he was part of that involved teaming Irving with guys like Anthony Davis or Kawhi Leonard in 2019.

"All the things that I thought were setting me back or adversity ended up being the biggest blessings," Brown told FOX Sports' Melissa Rohlin (h/t Bleacher Report). "Getting moved to the bench, even trade talks, getting booed, whatever the fans were saying, overpaid, overrated. All of that stuff made me who I am today. It drove my work ethic. And it drove my demeanor."

Brown has evolved into the Celtics' second-best player in the years since, with many nights and even playoff series seeing him take on the alpha role. Irving, on the other hand, has largely struggled to find a situation as promising as Boston. Even his highest postseason finish besides this season was still a second-round bounce, just as his lone playoff run with the Cs.

Jaylen Brown vindicated during Boston Celtics' NBA Finals run

While the discourse around Jayson Tatum continues to revolve around his lack of big games in the spotlight, Brown is having no such issues. In fact, there hasn't been many left-handed dribble jokes thrown Brown's way after he worked on his one weakness on the basketball court and has evolved his game.

Brown's Finals MVP odds aren't far behind Tatum's, and winning the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player award feels within reach for No. 7; barring continued brilliance from Jrue Holiday. From where the Houdini sits, Brown has the narrative advantage if he can have at least one more 20-point game on 50%+ shooting.

It's been a long way for Brown after Irving's tenure looked like it'd permanently derail his run in Boston. Brown hasn't always been happy with the city's behavior, but he seems in sync with it now as the Celtics stand on the precipice of Banner 18.