Boston Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum had a feeling the honor would come his way Thursday.
But even with the surprise basically taken out of being named a starter for the upcoming NBA All-Star Game, earning that recognition still carried a great deal of weight for the 24-year-old.
“It’s nothing that I ever in a sense want to get used to, that I never take for granted,” Tatum told reporters following the Celtics’ overtime loss to the New York Knicks, per NBC Sports Boston. “While I may have expected to make the team, I never want to take it for granted. It’s an honor and it’s just something I dreamed about as a kid. So, to be named an All-Star starter meant a lot. I was very excited. It’s pretty cool.”
It will be Tatum’s fourth straight trip to the NBA’s marquee exhibition event and while he started the All-Star Game each of the past two seasons as an injury replacement, this was the first time he was selected outright to start the contest.
In his sixth season in the NBA, Tatum has reached impressive heights and put himself in the MVP conversation due to the spectacular campaign he is putting together this year. Tatum ranks third in the league in scoring average with 31.1 points per game while also totaling 8.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists.
It sure was a deserving nod for Tatum as he’s truly in the upper echelon of players. Joining Tatum from the Eastern Conference as All-Star starters are Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was also named a team captain, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Donovan Mitchell.
Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, Zion Williamson and LeBron James, who earned captain honors as well, rounded out the starters from the Western Conference.
Tatum with get the opportunity to showcase his supreme talent against the other elites of the league when the NBA All-Star Game takes place Feb. 19 at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City.