October 6, 2022 World
Jayson Tatum after his first Finals appearance, Celtics star is learning the spotlight has been magnified for better and for worse
Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum vacationed in the Cayman Islands just days after losing in the 2022 NBA Finals to celebrate Father’s Day and get his mind off basketball.
Being far away from Boston and wearing swim trunks instead of basketball shorts still couldn’t help him truly escape, as well-meaning NBA fans reminded him of the failed title attempt on sight.
“So, I just wanted to go relax. Long season, clearly,” Tatum told Andscape during a recent NBA season promotional shoot in Burbank, California. “Enjoy some time with my son and the family. Get away from it. The Finals were so fresh in my mind.
“And every time we walked out the room, somebody saw me and said, ‘Oh, man, we wish you would’ve … ’ ‘Good luck next year.’ And that’s even said to this day. But it was just three or four days afterwards, so it was really fresh.”
The three-time NBA All-Star was awarded the 2022 Larry Bird Eastern Conference finals MVP award after averaging 25 points, 8.3 rebounds and 5.6 assists against the Miami Heat. Tatum also averaged 26.9 points, 8 rebounds and 4.4 assists during the regular-season. But in losing to the Golden State Warriors in six Finals games, the 6-foot-8, 210-pounder’s offensive production dropped at the most crucial time, as he averaged 21.5 points on 36.7% shooting from the field.
“It was just a learning experience, learning a lesson,” the 24-year-old Tatum said. “Maybe do some things differently next time if you get to that point. Obviously, it’s tough to learn a lesson that way, but it is what it is …
“It just fuels you. Motivates you to get back to that point.”
It turned out Tatum played in the 2022 NBA Finals with a right shoulder injury, and he also revealed to Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks in August that he had a small non-displaced bone chip in his wrist for two months that was healed entering the NBA Finals but still susceptible to pain if hit. Tatum told Andscape that his injured wrist didn’t need offseason surgery.
“It affected me, but that’s why I never talked about it,” Tatum told Andscape. “I didn’t show people I was wearing a brace [off the court] because if I’m out there, if you playing, then you playing. So, if you can’t play, then you can’t play. It was June, so everybody was dealing with something. I wasn’t the only guy out there that was banged up.
“[Celtics center] Rob [Williams] was damn near playing with one leg and I know the Warriors had guys [with] injuries and stuff, so it’s not an excuse. It was just the reality.”