Ever since Jayson Tatum showed the world he had all the audacity in the world after he dunked and flexed on LeBon James as a 19-year-old in the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals, NBA Twitter has debated whether or not the former Duke Blue Devil is a superstar.
Tatum is locked in tonight. Already 4 3PT by the 2nd quarter.
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) June 6, 2022
Tatum has nearly concluded the superstar debate in his fifth year in the League. This past regular season, Tatum earned his third All-Star appearance and was earned his first All-NBA First-Team selection after averaging career-high numbers nearly across the board. The Celtics won 26 of their last 32 games and finished the season with the top defense, beating the Nets, Bucks, and Heat to reach the Finals.
For the 2021-22 campaign, Tatum put up 26.9 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game on 45.3 percent shooting from the field and 35.3 percent shooting from deep. JT scored 30+ points 24 times, 40+ three times, and has scored 50 or more twice, including a season-high 54 against the Nets in March. For the playoffs, he’s scored 30+ six times and had a 49/9/4 outing in a Game 6 win over the Bucks in the conference semifinals.
Heading into Game 3 of his first NBA Finals appearance tied at 1-1, Tatum flipped a question about him “as a superstar player” And asked reporters where the debate even came from.
“A lot of people want to debate,” Tatum said. “I guess you just commented about the superstar, whatever that means, right? I’ve seen there’s a huge debate: Is he a superstar, or is he not? I want to know where that came from. Did I tweet that? Did I ever say I’m a superstar, I’m on the verge? That never came from me.
“It’s been a big deal this last year and a half or two years. I see it all the time. There’s always been a question in the back of my head; I wonder who spoke on my behalf or said that or why that was such a big deal.”
Jayson Tatum said he wasn’t sure where the “Is he a superstar?” debate came from around him, but that’s focused on winning a title vs being a superstar: “If you win a championship, they can debate a lot of things, but they can’t debate whether or not you’re a champion.”
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 7, 2022
Tatum will have a chance to answer that debate clearly when the Celtics host the Warriors for Wednesday’s game 3. The Celtics are 5-4 in TD Garden but are certified road warriors with an 8-3 record in away games. Whoever wins will be in the driver’s seat and be two wins away from winning an NBA title.
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