Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum is heading back to the NBA All-Star Game, joining a stacked Eastern Conference starting lineup.

The news was revealed Thursday night as Tatum, now a five-time All-Star, will return to the East-West showdown fresh off winning the MVP after dropping an NBA-record 55 points during last year’s All-Star Game in Utah. The 25-year-old will kick off the night alongside fellow East starters Giannis Antetokounmpo (team captain), Joel Embiid, Tyrese Haliburton and Damian Lillard.

After the Celtics underwent a critical offseason, leaning toward a change in direction by bringing in Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday, it was clear that sacrifice would be demanded, and Tatum embraced that. Boston’s No. 1 scoring option has averaged 27 points on nearly two fewer shot attempts than last season with 8.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists to lead an NBA-best (34-10) Celtics squad.

The Celtics have sat comfortably atop the Eastern Conference for most of the season, and that’s a testament to the buy-in culture that’s become contagious ever since Opening Night. That begins with Tatum, who’s had no issue deferring to the elite options Boston’s stacked lineup provides each night.

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Around this time last year, the conversations surrounding Tatum were predominately MVP-affiliated. Tatum was averaging a career-high 30.1 points and was heavily in contention for the MVP, yet none of that translated when the playoffs rolled around and Boston got eliminated in seven games by the eighth-seeded Miami Heat — squandering a favorable chance at the NBA Finals.

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As Boston’s 2023-24 “different here” motto reads, this new-look Celtics roster is most definitely different, and for all the right reasons.

“In terms of our numbers we have so much talent on our team, and we share the wealth,” Tatum told Bleacher Report, per Scott Polacek. “Nobody’s averaging what they were probably averaging last year. We’re all probably a couple points down. But we’re all playing great basketball. MVP might be tough just with the dynamic of our team. But we’re trying to play for a championship, so that’s what I’m thinking about.”

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The 2024 NBA All-Star Game in Indiana will be played on Feb. 18.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images