Boston Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum is heading to his third All-Star Game. He will be replacing Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant in the starting lineup when he, MVP candidate Joel Embiid, Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young, among others, face off against Team LeBron Sunday night at Cleveland.
However, in a recent interview with The Old Man & the Three’s JJ Redick, the Celtics’ lone All-Star had plenty about another NBA-sanctioned voting process.
The latest Celtics news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Celtics newsletter here!
Jayson Tatum on Harsh Criticism: ‘There’s a Fine Line’
It all started when Redick asked Tatum if the criticism Jayson’s received in recent years about his shot selection and offensive approach affected his performance or process on a game-by-game basis.
“There’s a fine line between paying attention to it and letting it affect you,” Tatum replied, The Old Man & The Three’s JJ Redick. “Everybody in the NBA hears everything that somebody says about you. I got Twitter. I got Instagram; I watch t.v. Even if I don’t see it, people sent it to you. I see everything that is said about me; good, bad, or indifferent. I think the bigger you get, the more attention or critique that you receive. I think it’s part of it. The mentality to have is: they don’t talk about the players they don’t care about.
“So, they’re saying something good or bad about you; that means you’re somewhat doing your job because they continue to talk about you.”
Tatum on All-NBA Voting Process: ‘That Has to Change’
Tatum could recall one instance in which someone’s criticism got under his skin, which, for Jayson, had more to do with the overall impact of the 2021’s All-NBA snub than the actual critique itself.
“The only time I let it affect me, I remember last year, in the playoffs — playoffs might have been over — everybody was coming out with their All NBA ballots and podcasts, and who they were voting for,” Tatum said. “I had $30 million on the line to make it. Now, I specifically remember one person saying, “I’m not a fan of his shot selection, so I just couldn’t put him on my All NBA ballot,” and I was like, I was baffled.”
As an incentive attached to Tatum’s five-year, $165 million contract extension with the Celtics, the St. Louis native was due an additional $33 million if he made one of the NBA’s three All-NBA teams. According to longtime NBA journalist Marc Stein, Tatum and Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell, who agreed to a similar stipulation in his respective deal, missed out on the same bag last season.
“If you think about it, the way that it’s set up for the All-NBA stuff,” Tatum added. “A lot of guys have incentives for making All-NBA. Everybody knows I didn’t make it last year; I lost $30 million, or whatever. The fact that somebody could have that thought and basically cost someone $30 million — forget about me, say the next rookie extension guys that come in — I think that has to change because there’s no criteria set for the media on who they should vote for. It’s all opinion-based.”
For Tatum, it’s less about the money and more about how one’s opinion can hold so much weight.
“There’s so much that bothered me with that whole situation,” Tatum said. “The narrative was, ‘Jayson didn’t make All-NBA, he loses $30 million.’ From that headline, nobody’s going to feel bad for me, I still got $175 million. Like, nobody’s going to feel bad. I don’t want anybody to feel bad about the money part. My lifestyle hasn’t changed, it’s not about that.
“I think just as the results came out and I looked at how people voted, what went into the media members, their process of voting — that’s the frustrating part.”
As for 2021-22, Tatum’s made a strong case thus far. He’s averaging 25.7 points, along with a career-high 8.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists a night, per Basketball-Referece.com.