Boston Celtics

Jaylen Brown's description of his dynamic with Tatum is fascinating

"In a weird way it kind of works, because we lack what each other has."

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Since 2018, no two players have won more playoff games than Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. And yet fans and media continue to wonder about their relationship, from whether the Boston Celtics All-Stars get along off the court to whether they have each other's best interests at heart.

That narrative (which Tatum and Brown repeatedly have shut down) has persisted in part because Tatum and Brown are simply different people with different personalities. But during an appearance on the All the Smoke podcast with former NBA players Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes, Brown explained how those differences actually work to his and Tatum's benefit.

Editor's Note: Brown's interview with Jackson and Barnes originally aired in 2019.

"I think when me and Tatum came in, we had similar situations, but we're kind of like polar opposites in sense," Brown explained.

"Even in our game -- I'm more aggressive, Tatum is more laid-back, you know what I mean? And that's kind of how our personalities (are). He'll probably say I'm more outside-of-the-box, and he's probably a little more cut and simple -- just keep it simple.

"So in a weird way it kind of works, because we lack what each other has. In a weird way, we've got an understanding of each other, a respect for each other.

"Our families (are) close, like, my brother babysits his son and stuff like that. We're different, we've got different mindsets, but at the same time, like, I think we respect each other."

This is great insight from Brown on what makes him and Tatum work so well together. When the Celtics need an aggressor to set the tone and ramp up their on-court intensity, they can turn to Brown, who ranked among the NBA leaders in first-quarter scoring this season. When they need to settle their game down and guard against losing their cool, they can turn to Tatum, who can score at all three levels and just had has best season as a facilitator (4.9 assists to just 2.0 turnovers per game).

Most importantly, Brown and Tatum are aware of each other's strengths and weaknesses and realize how the other can help them become the best version of themselves. That selflessness has shone through in this season especially, where they've been genuinely invested in helping each other succeed.

During the 2024 NBA All-Star Game in February, for example, Tatum reportedly asked head coach Doc Rivers to give his minutes to Brown so Brown could make a push for the game's MVP award. Brown finished with 36 points and barely missed out on the honor, but earned a more meaningful award Monday by winning the Larry Bird Trophy as the Eastern Conference Finals MVP -- with Tatum among those gleefully congratulating his All-Star teammate.

Brown and Tatum are the two most important players in the Celtics' quest for Banner 18, which will enter the final stage when the 2024 NBA Finals begin next Thursday. And if Boston wins the title, the relationship of its two superstars will be a big reason why.

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