Celtics

‘I’ll text him later’: Jayson Tatum didn’t talk to Tom Brady after winning gold medal

Plus more takeaways from Tatum's entertaining appearance on the Knuckleheads Podcast.

Jayson Tatum
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum during an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Dec. 2. AP Photo/Charles Krupa

As a sports superstar in the New England area, Jayson Tatum has had plenty of opportunities to meet Tom Brady.

So when Tatum’s Team USA teammates called the former Patriots star following their gold medal victory at the Tokyo Olympics this past summer, Tatum couldn’t be bothered to walk to the back of the bus and speak to the defending Super Bowl champion.

“I know Tom,” Tatum said on a recent episode of the Knuckleheads podcast with former NBA players Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles, which was released on Tuesday.

Tatum’s offhanded remark understandably drew laughter and gentle derision from Richardson and Miles. Casually saying you are on first-name terms with the greatest quarterback of all time is a bit of a name drop.

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Tatum took it well, laughing as well before he continued.

“Me and Tom talk from time to time,” he said. “I went up to see them practice when he was back on the Patriots. [Team USA] were on the bus, and we just got our gold medal. Draymond [Green] called him. Draymond was in the back, so I was like 10 rows ahead of him. I remember [Devin Booker] and Zach [LaVine] said what’s up to him. I thought about it, but I might have been on the phone or something, but I was like, ‘I’ll text him later.'”

That set off a fresh round of laughter.

“Tom’s my guy,” Tatum said. “So I’ll talk to him.”

Here are some more takeaways from a lively, entertaining podcast featuring the Celtics‘ star forward.

Tatum and Jaylen Brown compete against each other.

Before the season, Tatum and Brown sat down together for NBC Sports Boston to offer a look at their relationship.

“It’s sometimes fascinating to me to see such an urgency to pit us against each other at times,” Brown said.

Tatum offered more insight into the pairing of young stars on the podcast.

“We’re trying to figure it out together, but in a way we’re pushing each other,” Tatum said. “It’s been times where he’s done something in a game, and I’m thinking like ‘Damn, I’m trying to do that.’ And there’s things I did — everything we do, we compete in a good way.”

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Tatum added that he was thrilled for Brown, who made his first All-Star team last season. He briefly referenced all of the trade chatter as well.

“I think honestly, me and him take the same approach of like, ‘I’m getting better. He’s getting better,'” Tatum said. “It’s not like we’re staying the same. We’re two of the hungriest players in the league. We’re trying to get there together.”

It meant a lot to Tatum that the Celtics gave him a max.

When the hosts queried Tatum about his new contract extension, he paused for a second to collect his words.

“That was an incredible moment when we came to an agreement and I signed that deal,” Tatum said. “Growing up, you think about all these things, but when they happen, you can’t even explain. You think about everything you’ve been through growing up, where you come from, your family, and [you’re] 22 signing a $175-million contract. …

“For someone to believe in you like that — someone like the Celtics who got as much history as any franchise ever — I was extremely excited, thankful, happy. I enjoyed it, enjoying it now.”

Tatum added that he saves all of his NBA money and only spends his endorsements. That’s why his list of endorsements is so lengthy — he mentioned Jordan Brand, Gatorade, New Era, Microsoft, Beats, and Ruffles as well as his favorite St. Louis pizza chain, Imo’s. In the past, he has done advertisements for Rakuten and Honey Dew Donuts as well.

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The hosts compared him to Shaquille O’Neal, who is notoriously willing to do endorsements.

“I’m waiting for him to be on the General,” one quipped, referencing O’Neal’s appearances on the low-budget insurance ads.

What was Tatum’s most expensive purchase?

Tatum said he likes nice things, even though he’s careful with his money. He enjoys watches and trips, and he has “a couple” of cars.

His most expensive? A limited-edition Black Badge Rolls Royce truck.

“Since I was in high school, I was like, ‘I got to get one of them,'” Tatum said.

Black Badge vehicles start around $400,000. Presumably, Tatum does not have the base model.

It took at least two months to get his wind back after COVID.

Tatum has outlined his battle with COVID before, but he offered an expansive description on the podcast — noting again that he used an inhaler after returning to the lineup until the Celtics were eliminated by the Nets.

“It was tough, catching COVID,” Tatum said. “I had symptoms for one day, I was sick and wasn’t feeling well, but the rest of quarantine I was fine. But when I got back to playing, I couldn’t breathe. I remember I’d be like, ‘Damn, hold on, I can’t even play basketball.’ It would take me like a whole half for my lungs to open up.

“I remember the first month I came back, my numbers were low, I was only averaging 22, 23, the media, they don’t understand, they was all on my ass. But it was real.”

If we could protest mildly, most members of the media (at least locally) were pretty cognizant of Tatum’s bout with COVID and its long-term effects. Still, there’s no question it affected him last season.

Playing with Kevin Durant at Team USA made a big impact.

At one point, Tatum was asked about Durant. Tatum paused for emphasis.

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“He’s one of the best players ever,” he said. “KD, 7-feet tall, shoots over the top of everybody. He’s smooth and he’s fluid. We went at it in the playoffs for five games, and I remember after the play-in game, it was like, ‘We won,’ but it was also like, ‘Damn, we got Brooklyn.'”

Still, Tatum added that playing against Durant was what he wanted — challenging himself as a young player is not only a way to get better, it’s also the only way to earn the respect of players like Durant and LeBron James.

“Him telling me he’s a fan, he likes seeing me go to work [at Team USA] was like, ‘Damn, this is somebody I looked up to,” Tatum said. “… He’s telling me, ‘Don’t pass the ball, go get a bucket.'”

Now Tatum is chasing Celtics legends. Last season, he scored 60 points in a game and tied Larry Bird’s scoring record.

“I think when you’re young and in the moment, it doesn’t really resonate how special that is,” Tatum said. “And obviously, Larry being one of the top-10 greatest players of all time, and anything you do to be mentioned in the same category with him, you’re doing something special.”

A Tatum signature shoe is coming.

And finally, Celtics fans who love sneakers can rejoice: Tatum hinted a signature shoe is on its way.

“I can’t tell you all exactly when,” he said, closing the podcast. “But it’s on the way. It’s on the way.”

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