The Boston Celtics look like a different team this year, as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have emerged as All-Star caliber players with enormous growth this season.
And undoubtedly the addition of Kemba Walker to replace Kyrie Irving, who joined the Brooklyn Nets before this season, has a lot to do with that.
Where Irving self-admittedly struggled to lead Boston’s young talent in his second year with the team, taking it upon himself to be the guy, Walker has been more patient, stepping up when he needs to while balancing his own scoring with playing off his team, and setting them up when they’re hot.
But while Irving was rumored as being a wrinkle in the Celtics’ team chemistry last year, Tatum still is close with the point guard, and shared Irving’s parting words when the point guard was on his way out of Boston.
?Ky told me this is my time and to embrace that role and be that dude,? Tatum told The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Tatum revealed the two speak pretty regularly, and that he’s likely to receive phone calls from Irving on the Celtics’ off days in the NBA bubble.
?Ky is like my big brother,? Tatum said. ?We still talk to this day, and we?ve talked a few times this playoffs. He always encourages me to be special. Having that relationship with him and having somebody like him in my ear at a young age, it means a lot.
?You can steal from a lot of different guys ? Ky, Kobe (Bryant) ? but you have to do it your own way. I?m one of the youngest guys on this team but I know the role I have. I know how these guys view me and they value what I have to say. I want the best for everybody and I just want to win. I?ve been more outspoken this year.?
Say what you want about Irving, but it’s respectable that he’s willing to give so much support to Tatum even though they’re no longer teammates.
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