Jaylen Brown had a tenuous 2018-19 season, going from a starting spot into a bench role amid his struggles shooting the ball and making decisions on the court. The Boston Celtics youngster knew he was in the midst of a critical third season, one he would need to prove himself to earn a long-term contract extension of his rookie deal.

The pressure produced major anxiety, considering all that was at stake. Brown recalls losing belief in his abilities, a self-doubt that could have killed his NBA career.

“That kills more dreams, careers, on and off the court, basketball-related and just (in) regular life,” Brown told Jay King of The Athletic. “As soon as you start not believing in yourself, it’s over. So I had to quiet that voice that was in the back of my head. Everybody has it. It’s not something that, like, just Jaylen has been through it. I think everybody on this planet probably has that voice in the back of their head telling them to stop or to quit or not to keep going. And that voice had been louder last year than it had ever been. So I had to make sure to quiet that f***ing voice because it was pissing me off.”

Brown has since done more than just quiet the voice, but become a more experienced player able to handle those tough stretches and thrive through them.

It seems to be working thus far, with Brown averaging a career-high 19.8 points on 53% shooting from the floor, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.2 assists this season through six games.