Here’s What Celtics’ Jayson Tatum Surprisingly Credited For His Strong February


Mar 30, 2020

Jayson Tatum admitted to something not many others will.

The 22-year-old Tatum, who took his game to another level en route to earning the NBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Month for February, explained how he became obsessed with becoming an NBA All-Star entering the 2019-20 season.

Tatum, who earned his first All-Star selection Jan. 30, opened up about the situation on John Goodman’s “Good ‘N Plenty” podcast Monday.

“It was like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders when I found out,” Tatum told Goodman. “And kind of ever since then I’ve just played a lot more relaxed and a lot more free, and I think that had a lot to do with it.”

Tatum followed it up by averaging 30.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.3 blocked shots during February.

It was a world of difference from his mindset prior.

“Early in the season, I put so much pressure on myself mentally,” Tatum said. “Obviously, I wanted to win. I wanted us to be a really good team, but I also thought about making the All-Star Game every day.

“Every time I had a bad game I remember I would text (shooting coach) Drew (Hanlen) and I’d be like, ‘Drew, I don’t think I’m gonna make it anymore’ and he’d be like, ‘Bro, relax,'” Tatum continued. “And then I would have a good game and I’d be like, ‘Bro, I think I’m gonna make it.'”

Tatum added that the death of Kobe Bryant in late January, around the same time he learned he was an NBA All-Star, also played a role in his incredible stretch.

“It was kind of intertwined,” Tatum said. “All those things happened at the same time.”

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Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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