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Christian Braun could join exclusive list of NBA, NCAA back-to-back champions

Nuggets face Heat in NBA Finals
Gabe Vincent, Christian Braun, Bruce Brown
Posted at 8:29 PM, Jun 04, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — From an NCAA championship to an NBA title, Christian Braun has his sight set on back-to-back rings.

Braun could join an exclusive list of players if the Denver Nuggets defeat the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.

“I think he’s too young to really get it ... when you put your name on a short list with guys like Bill Russell and Magic Johnson," said Don Braun, Christian's dad.

If the Nuggets win the 2023 NBA Finals, Braun would join Magic Johnson, Bill Russell, Henry Bibby and Billy Thompson as the fifth player in history to immediately follow up a college basketball championship with an NBA title.

NBA Finals Heat Nuggets Basketball
Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) shoots over Denver Nuggets guard Christian Braun (0) in the first half of Game 1 of the NBA Finals Thursday, June 1, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski

The 22-year-old is no stranger to winning. An NBA title would round out his fifth championship in the last seven years — from high school to the pros.

"I was cut my freshman year, and then my sophomore, junior, senior year, we won it every year," Christian Braun said. "COVID year, my freshman year of college, we were the number one team, so we didn’t get to see how that went. Won it my junior year and then first year in the NBA, so I think that’s like five in seven.”

Braun was a key piece to the Kansas Jayhawks' dominant 2022 NCAA championship squad, and now he's playing a role in the Nuggets' playoff run.

“He’s worked hard and we’ve been extremely happy," said Lisa Braun, Christian's mom. "We really didn’t expect him to play much as a rookie, and to see him in the rotation this late in the season, of course during the championship series, is really exciting."

In the 2022 NBA Draft, Braun was the 21st overall pick to Denver, a team that's never been this far in the playoffs.

“I know there’s guys on the team who have waited 16 years to be in the position that I am in my first year, so you can’t take it for granted," Christian Braun said.