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Celtics

Celtics’ Jaylen Brown recalls Kevin Garnett’s expletive-filled motivational voicemails

Former Celtic Kevin Garnett isn't shy about calling out current members of the team like Jaylen Brown.
Former Celtic Kevin Garnett isn't shy about calling out current members of the team like Jaylen Brown.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Jaylen Brown might be on his way to becoming an NBA star. If so, Kevin Garnett can take some of the credit.

In an appearance on an ESPN podcast with Ros Gold-Onwude, Brown revealed Garnett left a voicemail for him when he was a rookie in Boston in 2017. The former Celtics big man, who was out of the league at this point, spotted Brown looking down at one point in the season. Garnett didn’t mince words when it came to his opinion on Brown’s body language.

“I was at the end of the bench with my head down, and he sent a voice message through my strength coach over the phone like, ‘You better pick your [expletive] head up,’ ” Brown said with a smile. “He was cursing me out. He was like, ‘You’ve got to carry yourself a certain way.’ So he told me to pick my head up and fix my body language, right the [expletive] now.”

Brown said Garnett has addressed the Celtics with some strong language on several occasions in the past, including when they were trailing the Bulls, 2-0, in the first round of the 2017 NBA playoffs, a time when the Celtics were mourning the death of Isaiah Thomas’s sister in a car accident prior to Game 1.

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Brown said Garnett’s speech on that occasion was probably “the most OG message you will ever hear in your entire life.”

“I remember him saying, ‘There’s two ways you can go. Either you can go backward or go forward. I feel everybody’s emotions. Channel it out there and hit them in the mouth.’”

Brown said Garnett’s words of wisdom have been inspiring.

“[He’s] somebody I’m chasing here in Boston, he was the last person to win a championship,” he said. “That’s something I would like to do while I’m here with the Celtics. I’m definitely inspired by Kevin Garnett. I think we’re totally two different people, we play two different positions, but I would like to model my approach after his, and hopefully we will down the road be looked at as similar.”

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Christopher Price can be reached at christopher.price@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at cpriceglobe.