Sometimes, in the NBA Finals, an otherwise ordinary player rises above their station to win the hearts of fans everywhere.
Think of forward Robert Horry, who averaged 10 or more points just three times in his career but repeatedly came up big for seven championship teams. Or forward Andre Iguodala, who limited LeBron James in his prime and won a Finals MVP 11 years into his career.
On Wednesday, a new name made a case for that list: rookie Nuggets guard Christian Braun.
A 4.7-point-per-game scorer in the regular season, Braun erupted for 15 critical points in Denver's 109–94 win over the Heat, propelling the Nuggets to a 2–1 series lead.
His explosion was warmly welcomed by non-Miami segments of NBA Twitter, as he served almost to overshadow an astounding performance from Denver center Nikola Jokić.
Braun repeatedly drove on Heat forward Jimmy Butler, helping the Nuggets put away Miami in the fourth quarter.
Christian Braun got Heat Culture in shambles, he looked at Jimmy Butler and said this is food.— Ahmed/The Ears/IG: BigBizTheGod 🇸🇴 (@big_business_) June 8, 2023
He drew comment for his unusual name, pronounced as "Brown" rather than "Brawn."
Christian Braun playing so well people are going to learn how to correctly pronounce his name— Ricky O'Donnell (@SBN_Ricky) June 8, 2023
“christian braun” sounds like the name of a wrestler whose gimmick is that he’s super into jesus— Shea Serrano (@SheaSerrano) June 8, 2023
Yahoo Sports dug up his hilariously modest LinkedIn from his days at Kansas, where he won a national title in 2022.
Christian Braun's gotta update his LinkedIn after tonight 🤣 pic.twitter.com/j2nnx4z5V7— Ball Don’t Lie (@Balldontlie) June 8, 2023
Denver fans were absolutely enthralled.
Nuggets fans telling their grandkids in 20 years about the Christian Braun game: pic.twitter.com/hhwPcXzVFd— Denver Stiffs (@denverstiffs) June 8, 2023
Jayhawks fans melted with pride over their native son.
Christian Braun getting featured as a rookie during the NBA Finals! pic.twitter.com/d1HIzQvMJJ— Jayhawks In The NBA (@NBA_Jayhawks) June 8, 2023
Many noted Braun's ability to shake off a few questionable plays.
Christian Braun having the best game ever for a dude who hit the side of the backboard on a 3-pointer— Will Guillory (@WillGuillory) June 8, 2023
All told, it was a learning experience for those outside of Lawrence, Kansas.
CHRISTIAN BRAUN pic.twitter.com/7Gzg6dskAH— The House that Kami Built (@KamitronPTW) June 8, 2023