After scoring a career-high 60 points that yiedled the Boston Celtics to an improbable and historic 32-point comeback in a 143-140 overtime win over the San Antonio Spurs, All-Star Jayson Tatum made a very special phone call.
He called his father.
“I definitely called him after the game,” Tatum said after tying Larry Bird’s single-game franchise record. “Everybody knows how close I am with my mom and she’s always been my biggest fan, and she’s always been tough on me. She definitely showed more love. My dad was the one who introduced me to basketball.”
Jayson Tatum Opens Up About His Father: ‘We Had Some Rocky Times in Our Relationship’
Tatum’s dad also constantly pushed his son to become a great player. So much so, Jayson admits; it sometimes fractured their relationship.
“His tactics was extreme at times, and he for sure pushed me when I was younger and we had some rocky times in our relationship because of how hard he pushed me,” Tatum said. “As I’ve gotten older, we’ve grown closer, probably since I got into college and now — even before tonight. To hear him say he’s proud of me; it means a lot.”
Tatum On His Father’s Influence: ‘I Wouldn’t Be Here Without Him’
It was a rare treat. Growing up, Jayson admits he rarely saw his dad’s affectionate side.
“He never expressed that when I was younger — not that he wasn’t proud of me — that was just kind of his way of always telling me that I need to do more or I can be better,” Tatum added. “It kind of drove me, in a way, to prove him wrong. And now, to see where I started and where I’m at — obviously, a long way to go. But, I wouldn’t be here without him.”
Did your father inspire this 60-point career milestone and is he still a constant driving force behind you trying to prove people wrong?
“I wouldn’t necessarily say him anymore,” Tatum replied. “We’ve, for sure, gotten to a point in our relationship, where he’s much more of a dad now than a coach or somebody who’s trying to teach to me the game. We’ve definitely gotten to a point where he’s just supporting. I think that’s better for our relationship anyways. Out there to prove others wrong? Not necessarily. I think I have the utmost and highest expectations for myself and where I’m trying to get to and where I want to be when it’s all said and done.
“I know I’m young, I know I have a super long way to go. But, I’m determined to get there.”
The Celtics’ Historic 32-Point Comeback Vs. The Spurs
Boston completed the third-biggest comeback in NBA history, according to CBS Sports. In 1996, the Utah Jazz made a 36-point comeback to top the Denver Nuggets and in 2009, the Sacramento Kings rallied from a 35-point deficit to beat the Chicago Bulls.
The Celtics also erased a 29-point haftime deficit — 77-48 — which is the second biggest that any team has overcome in the final two quarters, per CBS Sports.
After the win, Jayson and the Celtics commemorated the moment by recreating Wilt Chamberlain’s iconic “100” photo and it was posted to the Celtics’ Twitter page.