Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown takes his mother on an unbelievable journey.

The Boston Celtics celebrated their 18th NBA title with a grand parade last Friday. For Mechalle Brown, mother of NBA Finals MVP Jaylen Brown, the past five days have been incredibly busy.

In Mechalle Brown’s view, raising a child and achieving victory are communal efforts. This week, it felt like the entire community was calling to share in the celebration.

“It’s been a surreal experience,” Brown remarked from Boston on Thursday. “Did this really happen? The overwhelming joy and happiness were immense. It’s been chaotic with all the calls—my phone hasn’t stopped ringing.”

“I’m ready for things to settle down. Winning is great, but there’s been so much going on.”

I watched eagerly on Monday during the podium celebration, waiting with everyone else to see who would be named NBA Finals MVP, akin to the Academy Award for Best Actor.

While it takes a village to achieve victory, there’s only one MVP.

Jaylen Brown, guard for the Boston Celtics, proudly displayed the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP award after Boston’s 106-88 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 of the 2024 NBA Finals at TD Garden on June 17. ELSA/GETTY IMAGES

Throughout the postseason, Brown consistently performed at a high level. However, after Jayson Tatum’s standout performance on Monday, there was speculation that Tatum might be the popular choice—not necessarily the correct one.

When NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced Brown’s name, it was a pleasant surprise for me. Mechalle Brown was overwhelmed with emotion. She closed her eyes, embraced her youngest son, and was flooded with memories and feelings.

“From seeing him chase a ball at 9 months old to now, at 27, achieving everything he worked so hard for—it’s incredibly fulfilling,” she shared. “Knowing how much he desired this, and seeing him contribute to his team and be recognized, it’s just amazing to see everything come full circle. It was an overwhelming and incredible feeling.”

Later in the postgame interview, Brown recounted a dream he had that day. In the dream, his maternal grandmother, Dianne Varnado, embraced him, giving him a sense that everything would be alright. Mechalle Brown was moved to tears upon hearing her son mention her mother, who passed away in March 2023.

“When he spoke about my mom and his dream, that’s what really got to me,” she said. “I wanted him to succeed, but that moment was incredibly touching.”

Mechalle Brown and her brother, Byron Varnado, grew up in Muskegon, Michigan, under the care of their grandmother. Mechalle later moved to Atlanta, where her sons spent their summers with their grandparents.

Their grandmother, an educator, instilled discipline in the boys. She assigned them homework and readings before they could play basketball. “Who wants homework in the summer?” Mechalle Brown chuckled. “Jaylen didn’t appreciate it then, but he understands it now.”

“She played a significant role in shaping Jaylen into who he is—a person of service, leading by example,” she continued. “She treated everyone with kindness, whether they were important or not. She instilled values, character, and integrity in Jaylen and his brother. She taught them to use their voices.”

Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown dunks during Game 3 of the 2024 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks on June 12 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. JESSE D. GARRABRANT/NBAE VIA GETTY IMAGES

What lies ahead for Brown now? With an NBA championship and Finals MVP title, he has a heightened platform. Mechalle Brown stated that her son will continue his work with his 7uice Foundation and expand his Bridge Program, offering opportunities to young Black and Brown individuals beyond athletics.

One thing Brown won’t allow is fame and wealth to silence his voice. Mechalle Brown recalled a conversation they had three years ago when he participated in demonstrations after George Floyd’s murder.

“He said, ‘I may have money, but I’m still a Black man and my voice needs to be heard,'” Mechalle Brown remembered. “That’s why he went to Atlanta. No matter his success, he understands the importance of standing against injustice. Fortunately, he has a platform most people don’t.”

She also emphasized the importance of education, hoping Jaylen will return to complete his degree at Cal, where he spent nine months before entering the NBA. Mechalle Brown herself holds degrees from Michigan State and American InterContinental University, while her mother earned hers from Grand Valley State University.

“Athletics was never my focus,” she explained. “Education was. I want him to finish what he started.”

Mechalle Brown concluded our conversation graciously. There was much left to do—more calls to make, more friends and family to connect with, and, of course, a championship parade to prepare for.

She expressed her excitement for the upcoming festivities: “I can’t wait for the parade. It’s going to be incredible to witness this and be a part of our family’s history.”