Getty Images Jaylen Brown, Kyrie Irving

On paper, Jaylen Brown had a breakout game Thursday night. He delivered 22 points and seven rebounds in a 92-88 win over the defending champion Golden State Warriors. He outscored everyone on the floor except Kevin Durant, and the Celtics overcame a 17-point deficit.

But for Brown, the game will forever mean more than the stats. One night earlier, Brown's childhood best friend, Trevin Steede, passed away. Steede was known among fans as Brown's opponent in a recent viral video on Steede's YouTube channel showing the difference between casual and pro ballers.

Brown was reportedly considering skipping Thursday night's game, as he felt he couldn't get his thoughts together. That changes shortly before tip-off.

"Everybody was kind of in shock," Brown told reporters after the game. "But I knew coming into today that he would have wanted me to play. It was hard getting my thoughts together, but after talking to his mom and his family, they inspired me to come out and play.

"I wasn't in any shape to come out. I didn't want to leave my room. But they inspired me to come out and play. And I came out and played in his spirit today. My teammates held me up and we pulled it out."


Although Kyrie Irving also had a remarkable performance, scoring 11 fourth-quarter points to close out the Warriors, he immediately sought out Brown with the game ball after the final buzzer, something Brown says, "meant a lot."

"I gave him some great words that was given to me," said Irving, whose mom died when he was 4. "I've lost individuals in my life. It's never a good thing when someone else is going through it. You do your best to console and to encourage them, but at the end of the day, it's about the strength within themselves and he showed a lot of that tonight."


Brown met Steede at Joseph Wheeler High School in Marietta, Georgia. Although Brown was the school's prized basketball prospect, he arrived without knowing anyone. Steede changed that.

"I transferred schools to play basketball at Wheeler High School," Brown recalls. "He was already there. And they transferred me in. Ultimately, I was probably taking his spot, but I remember I didn't have any friends sitting at the lunch table. The first few days I sat by myself and acted like I'm too cool, I didn't need anybody. You know what I mean? Like, I'm an introvert. I'll be all right.

"And 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. And then he told me to come over and sit with him. And ever since then we've been best friends. For him to do that even though the circumstances, ever since then that's been my brother, you know?"

Brown shared an image of himself and Steede after the game:


Here's the original video of Steede and Brown going one-on-one:

The Celtics, who are on a 14-game winning streak, play their next game Saturday at the Hawks. Brown was scheduled to travel to Atlanta on Friday morning, earlier than the rest of the team, to be with family and friends in the area.

-- Follow Jeff Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband. Like Jeff Eisenband on Facebook.

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