The Celtics falling two wins short of an NBA championship took a significant toll on the organization’s best player.
Boston’s impressive run in the 2022 playoffs ultimately ended in heartbreak. After a roller coaster of a regular season, the Celtics dispatched the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat before losing to the Golden State Warriors in six games on basketball’s biggest stage.
Bringing Boston its 18th title in franchise history and first in over a decade would have been a career-defining accomplishment for Jayson Tatum. In an exclusive interview with Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks, the 24-year-old explained how the Celtics’ Finals gut punch impacted his general wellbeing.
“You know, those three, four days afterward, I was miserable,” Tatum told Rooks, as transcribed by NBC Sports. “I really, really was. And it took some time to kind of get out of that funk and just kind of enjoy my life, enjoy being around my son and my family.”
Tatum added: “I feel like sometimes I come off so laid back that I don’t know if people understand how much I invest into this game, how much I care, how much I work because I’m not the loudest or may (not) show everything. But (losing) was just so tough because I literally gave everything that I had. And to feel like I ran out, that I didn’t have anything left to give, and we were so close.
“I didn’t have an appetite. I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I didn’t want to go anywhere.”
Falling to the Warriors might not have been completely demoralizing for Tatum given the Celtics’ prospects for the upcoming NBA season. Boston is in line to contend for a championship in the 2022-23 campaign, with or without Kevin Durant.