Celtics’ Jayson Tatum Gets Real on ‘Disconnect’ With MVP Discourse

Jayson Tatum

Getty Jayson Tatum

With the Boston Celtics atop the NBA, Jayson Tatum has a campaign for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award. After the Celtics beat the Chicago Bulls, Tatum explained to reporters why there’s a disconnect with MVP conversations.

“I wasn’t saying that I needed to be first. I just had a problem with some people on TV saying that the reason why I won’t win this year is because of something that happened two years ago. That was my only disconnect,” Tatum said per Celtics on CLNS’ X account.

This is in response to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst using Tatum’s series against the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals as proof of why he shouldn’t win the award.

“It’s not fair because it’s supposed to be on this year only. Jayson Tatum in the playoffs, particularly in the Finals, didn’t play his best. And now, fair or not, the bar is set higher,” Windhorst said on a February 15 episode of NBA Today. Celtics.com’s Marc D’Amico aggregated Windhorst’s words .

Joel Embiid, the league’s reigning Most Valuable Player, has never made it past the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Yet that evidently did not factor into his MVP campaign in 2023.

Jayson Tatum Believes He’s the NBA’s Best Player

Before the NBA season resumed, Jayson Tatum told ESPN’s Malika Andrews that he’s the NBA’s best player.

Andrews asked Tatum point blank who he thought was the NBA’s best player, and Tatum answered simply with, “Myself.”

“I got a lot of respect for a lot of guys in the league,” Tatum told her on February 20, per Andrews’ YouTube Channel. “Giannis for sure, [Nikola] Jokic, obviously he just won [the championship], [Joel] Embiid, guys that have won MVPs, and the list goes on. The league is in a great place. I think about things that I’ve been through — just through my career — things that I’ve accomplished, and yet I haven’t got the ultimate championship. I truly do believe every time I step on the floor, I’m the best player.”

Tatum may not win the league’s MVP award, but he is the best player on the team with the best record in the NBA. Kevin Garnett had a similar case during the 2007-08 season when the Celtics went 66-16. The award went to Kobe Bryant, but while he didn’t win the award, they won the championship.

Jayson Tatum Gets Real on Jaylen Brown

During his interview with Andrews, Jayson Tatum gave his candid thoughts on the dynamic between himself and Jaylen Brown. Tatum believes the two have grown together.

“I think over the last few years we’ve taken strides of, like, coexisting together, getting the best out of each other, while being the best version of ourselves and being the leaders that our team needs us to be; this is our time.”

Tatum added that part of how they’ve grown has been about them maturing as NBA players.

“It’s part of just getting older and maturing, right? Still relatively young guys, but understanding that this is our time and we need to take full advantage of it.”

Tatum and Brown have achieved plenty together in the NBA, but the one feat they haven’t achieved is winning a title.