Jayson Tatum tested positive for COVID-19 in January, and the Boston Celtics star dealt with the effects of the virus even after he returned to the court.
And as he prepares to represent the United States in the Tokyo Olympics, his experience during the pandemic isn’t lost on him.
Tatum said his COVID-19 diagnosis helped shape the mindset he’s bringing with him to his first Olympic appearance.
“I’ve learned to not take things for granted,” he said, per Taylor Snow of NBA.com. “I think in the climate of the last year and a half, just realizing that not everything is promised, and you never know what could or couldn’t happen. So I’m just staying in the moment and really enjoying this journey, this process of being 23 and being in the Olympics. It’s an honor. It really is a dream come true.”
Tatum missed five games due to the virus, and after he rejoined the squad he revealed he struggled with breathing issues and felt more fatigued than usual. In April, he told ESPN’s Tim Bontemps he had to use an inhaler before games, something he never did before his diagnosis.
While Tatum has put the virus behind him, the rest of Team USA hasn’t been as lucky. Bradley Beal will miss the Olympics due to COVID-19, and Jerami Grant and Zach LaVine both went through stints in health and safety protocols but were cleared to rejoin the team.