Did Celtics Shame Joe Mazzulla Out Of Meme-Worthy Habit?

'Bazooka Joe' is no more


Feb 17, 2023

Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla loves to furiously chew gum. Well, at least he used to, before his team seemingly shamed him out of it.

The Celtics bench boss, who recently earned a promotion, became well known for his gum-chewing habit throughout the first few months of the season. It was a fun storyline for Boston fans to grab onto, as Green Teamers lovingly started referring to him as “Bazooka Joe.”

Mazzulla’s players, however, didn’t seem to find it so funny. Jayson Tatum poked fun at the habit during Mazzulla’s absence in December. That may have been enough for the rookie coach to quit cold turkey.

“I haven’t chewed gum in the last 20 games and no one has said a word. No one has noticed it,” Mazzulla told Justin Termine on the SiriusXM NBA Radio show Friday.

As much as we’d love to blame the team for that change, Mazzulla provided a much more legitimate reason.

“I’m changing up my breathing patterns, trying to just work on my focus and awareness during the game,” Mazzulla explained. “I felt like the gum chewing was messing up my heart rate variability and I wasn’t getting the breaths that I needed to be as focused as I was. So it was more of a crutch than it was a positive. So I completely eliminated it.”

Mazzulla’s rookie season has been tremendous for the Celtics, but not perfect. The 34-year-old’s time management has come into question, while some have worried that his rotational decisions haven’t been optimal.

That’s all well and good when you finish the first half with the NBA’s best record and are named a head coach for the NBA All-Star game.

Thumbnail photo via Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports Images
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