Jayson Tatum added being an Olympic gold medalist to his résumé over the summer.
The Celtics star now cherishes his Olympic experience, acknowledging it strengthened his confidence and shaped him into an elite player that’ll help lead Boston during the 2021-22 NBA season.
“I plan to take what I learned into next season.” Tatum recently told The Undefeated. “I spent half of my summer playing against the best players in the world. I played against (Kevin Durant) in practice, Book (Devin Booker) and all those guys. I feel like I got an early start to the season and will take it to the next step.”
Tatum found himself during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics playing alongside and against some of the best basketball players in the world. Playing with NBA greats — like Durant — sparked a challenging, stressful and rewarding environment for the Boston forward to excel at a high level.
“I just got to be better,” Tatum said, per The Undefeated. “I have to elevate my level from being one of the top 10 to 15 players to a top-5 player. I have to try to make everyone else around me better.”
Tatum’s individual play didn’t go unnoticed during the 2020-21 season as he averaged 26.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. But being one of the team’s key leaders gives Tatum the ability to relay his Olympic experience to the whole Celtics rotation this season.
With Tatum looking to elevate his performance moving forward, it will be interesting to see if the C’s star can generate the same — if not better — numbers for Boston this season.