Carmelo Anthony had nothing but love for Jayson Tatum after the pair swapped jerseys

"He's a guy that is establishing himself as we're all witnessing, we're all watching."

Jayson Tatum scored 36 points as the Celtics win against the Trail Blazers, 118-106, on Feb. 25.
Jayson Tatum dropped 36 points in the Celtics' 118-106 win over Portland. –AP / Craig Mitchelldyer

After leading the Celtics to a 118-106 victory over the Blazers, Jayson Tatum took the opportunity to swap jerseys with one of his biggest basketball inspirations – Carmelo Anthony.

“Man, besides Kobe, Melo was one of my top three favorite players,” Tatum said, per MassLive’s Tom Westerholm. “I studied him so much growing up. One of his biggest fans […] I really looked up to him.”

Anthony was full of praise for Tatum, who dropped 36 points (14-for-22) in the Celtics’ win.

“I love him,” Anthony said. “He’s a guy that is establishing himself as we’re all witnessing, we’re all watching.

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“I love his game, I love watching him play. I was able to have some 1-on-1 time with him, get a chance to know him better as a person first, but his game speaks for itself, and he continues to blossom.”

Anthony, in his 17th season in the league, also said he appreciated hearing how much Tatum looked up to him.

“It makes me kind of appreciate what I do and what I’ve been able to do throughout my career,” Anthony said. “Just being able to go out there and play the game the way I played it, the right way, the way I continue to play it.

“For guys to acknowledge that and see that and watch that, and want to learn from that, for me that’s what it’s all about, when you can kind of pass that knowledge down to the younger generation.”

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