Gregg Popovich Was Worried About Offending Jayson Tatum With This Question

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January 30, 2020

Gregg Popovich just wants to see Jayson Tatum become the best player he can be.

Popovich had the chance to work this Tatum this past summer as head coach of Team USA in the FIBA World Cup tournament. The notably blunt San Antonio Spurs coach, per ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, somewhat jokingly called out the 21-year-old in front of the rest of the team during a film session, which Tatum appreciated as it “really makes you think about rising to the challenge.”

But after the team meeting, Popovich pulled Tatum aside one-on-one seemingly to explain why he got on the Duke product’s case.

“Do you know how special you can be?” Popovich asked, per MacMullan. “There are very few two-way players in our game, and you have the opportunity to be one of them. You could be like Kawhi (Leonard) and Paul George.”

Noticing Tatum appeared to be taken aback by the question, Popovich wanted to make sure he wasn’t offending the budding star.

“Offended me?” Tatum replied. “That’s a compliment!”

Boston fans certainly are hoping Tatum reaches those heights. As Tatum and fellow young swingman Jaylen Brown continue to develop, the Celtics’ future looks brighter and brighter.

Thumbnail photo via Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports Images
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