‘What (Twitter) is For Sometimes’: Jayson Tatum On Spat w/ESPN Analyst

Kendrick Perkins Tatum

Getty Images Jayson Tatum of the Celtics talks with head coach Ime Udoka during the fourth quarter at TD Garden

After Monday’s win over the Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum cleared the air about his relationship, or lack thereof, with ESPN and former 2008 Celtics champion Kendrick Perkins.

Following the Celtics’ 99-75 blowout win over the New York Knicks, where All-Star Jaylen Brown recorded his first career triple-double (22 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists), Perkins acknowledged Brown’s dominance via Twitter.

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Timeline of Jayson Tatum & Kendrick Perkins’ Twitter Beef

But it didn’t come without throwing shade at Jaylen’s All-Star counterpart in Tatum, who scored 19 points but went 6-for-14, including 3-of-8 from deep, to get there.

Tatum wasted little-to-no time in responding to Perkins’ take.

“Normalizing uplifting one man without bringing another one down,” Tatum tweeted. “JB played great, it’s alright to leave it at that.”

Perkins replied later that night while refuting Tatum’s claim.

“I’m not bringing you down homeboy! My point is that I’m ready to see both of you have great games at the same time!” Perkins tweeted. “Just like the rest of the world, we want to see if ya’ll can co exist, and I’m standing on that! Carry on, youngster…”


Tatum: ‘I Don’t Have a Problem with Perk’

48-hours removed from going back-and-forth with Perk on the popular social media platform, Tatum spoke about the nature of his relationship with Perkins, which is currently non-existent, according to Jayson, nor does he hold any malice toward the former NBA champ.

“I guess it was nothing more than that. I don’t have a problem with Perk,” Tatum said. “We don’t really have no beef with each other — it’s not like that — I mean, we don’t really know each other. I just (saw) what he said. He said my name, and I just responded, and that’s all it was. It’s no big deal, just something to move past. I think that’s what social media is for sometimes. You see something; you get the ability to respond.

“We both said what we said, and we move on. It is what it is.”

After witnessing the Celtics surrender a 25-point lead in their devastating 108-105 loss to the Knicks, Perkins didn’t hold back when he appeared on ESPN’s NBA Today the next day, explaining why he believes the writing’s on the wall for the Tatum and Brown tandem in Boston.

“It’s in their body language like when Jayson Tatum hit that big bucket down the stretch. Go back and look on film and watch Jaylen Brown and how his body language was walking out of the corner,” Perkins said on ESPN’s NBA Today last week. “This is something that they go through every single time. There’s not a lot of high-fiving, there’s not a lot of chest-bumping. When one is having success, the other is not, and that’s how it is.

“So, as bad as we would like to see it work, they can’t co-exist.”

Perk even went as far as comparing the Celtics to his infamous 2011-12 Oklahoma City Thunder, who housed three future MVPs in Kevin Durant (2014), Russell Westbrook (2017), and James Harden (2018). Oklahoma City dismantled the star trio the following season despite reaching the finals and falling short to LeBron James and the Miami Heat.

“I used to argue with people about the young Oklahoma City Thunder team and people wondering why James Harden had left,” Perkins added. “I used to tell people when you’re at that age; it’s hard to sacrifice because you have so many individual goals that you want to accomplish. It’s easier to sacrifice later on down the line like James Harden, and Kevin Durant are willing to do right now.

“Just watch them. They play my turn basketball, but Ime Udoka was brought in to impose his will, and he’s not doing that.”

Brown also chimed in on the divisive topic.

“I think we can play together,” Brown said after notching his first triple-double in the Celtics’ win over the Knicks. “We have played together well for the majority of our career and things like that. The last year or so hasn’t gone as expected, but I think a lot of the adversity that we’re kind of going through now is going to help us grow and get better in the future.”

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