Jayson Tatum is squarely in the spotlight to start this season, with the Boston Celtics superstar playing at an MVP level.
But Tatum garnered attention for another reason earlier this week when he picked up a baffling technical foul in Monday’s win over the Oklahoma City Thunder — clapping his hands in frustration following a reach-in infraction. The soft tech on Tatum resulted in Kevin Durant blasting the officials on social media, with the NBA ultimately rescinding the call a day later.
It seems the Celtics are having some fun with the situation, leading to a friendly wager between Tatum and Celtics teammate Derrick White.
“Jayson Tatum said he bet Derrick White that he’ll get fewer than 10 technical fouls this season,” The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach tweeted Wednesday afternoon.
With the league taking away Tatum’s technical on Monday, the stellar forward still owns three techs through the first 14 games this year. It will certainly take a concerted effort from Tatum to not bark at officials — a bad habit the three-time All-Star routinely commits — for the remainder of the campaign if he wants to stay under the threshold he set with White.
But with Tatum’s continued ascension into the MVP conversation, maybe he will receive superstar treatment going forward and get some more leeway with the officials.
While Tatum’s competitiveness will make him not want to hit double-digit technicals due to this bet with White, even if it’s just for bragging rights, the real magic number for Tatum is 16. Once a player or coach receives 16 technical fouls in the regular season, they are automatically suspended for a game.
Tatum really shouldn’t come close to that mark, but White sure thinks Boston’s best player will lose his cool on the court toward an official at least a few more times this season.