Celtics

Ex-Celtic Kyrie Irving elected as NBPA Vice President

Ex-Celtic Kyrie Irving elected as NBPA Vice President

The National Basketball Players Association's announcement Monday about its new Vice President likely earned an eye roll from Boston Celtics fans.

Brooklyn Nets guard and ex-Celtic Kyrie Irving was appointed as the NBPA's new VP, replacing Pau Gasol. Irving was elected at Monday's annual winter meeting of the Board of NBPA Player Representatives.

"This was the right time for me to run for a leadership position in the NBPA,” said Irving, per the NBPA's official statement. “I have been an observer and a participant in union affairs for a while, but for the most part, I was off on the sidelines, supporting our Executive Committee as they made important decisions.

"At this point in my career, I wanted to join forces with those guys and take a bigger role outside of the basketball court and within our union. I want to help move the union forward with innovative ideas, not only on social issues but also with business ventures into a new space. I am honored to be elected by my peers and I cannot wait to work with everybody to make an impact."


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Irving being selected for a leadership role certainly is ironic considering the questions about his leadership ability during his brief tenure in Boston. Making it even more interesting is he'll join a committee that includes his former C's teammate, Jaylen Brown (VP).

Also on the committee are Oklahoma City Thunder veteran Chris Paul (President), Miami Heat veteran Andre Iguodala (First Vice President), Sacramento Kings forward Anthony Tolliver (Secretary-Treasurer), Charlotte Hornets center Bismack Biyombo, Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon, Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum and Nets forward Garrett Temple (Vice Presidents).

Celtics Talk Podcast: Danny Ainge on why 63-point game was Michael Jordan's coming out party

Celtics Talk Podcast: Danny Ainge on why 63-point game was Michael Jordan's coming out party

Everybody knew that Michael Jordan was an excellent NBA player very early on in his career.

But was his 63-point game against the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 1986 NBA Playoffs his coming out party? Current Celtics GM Danny Ainge seems to think so.

On the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast, Ainge discussed Jordan's 63-point playoff outburst from that series with Brian Scalabrine.

In the interview, Ainge referred to the game as the moment that many realized that Jordan was "a really, really special player" even though everyone already knew that he was talented.

I think this was a coming out party, a little bit maybe like what Jayson Tatum had after the All-Star Game this year, this long stretch [of good play]. I think this 63-point game, 49 back-to-back games, was a coming out party for Michael as 'Wow, this guy is a really, really special player.' But we knew going in that he was extremely talented.

Ainge would certainly know. He was tasked with helping to guard Jordan late in the game, especially in the fourth quarter and overtime despite having five fouls. Ainge actually held up well doing that, but Jordan still beat him on occasion with his quickness to the hoop and insane scoring touch.

That said, it's also notable that Ainge is comparing Jordan's coming out party to that of Tatum. The third-year Celtic had emerged as a big-time scorer and one of the NBA's best all-around young players after the All-Star Game before the NBA shut down amid coronavirus concerns.

Certainly, Ainge isn't comparing Tatum to Jordan as a player. But the fact that he mentioned the duo in the same breath is still encouraging, and it should signify that Ainge continues to have confidence as the 22-year-old Tatum looks to continue to improve heading into the final year of his rookie contract in 2020-21.

To hear more from Ainge and Scal about the 1986 Celtics-Bulls series and Ainge's relationship with Michael Jordan, check out this week's episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast, available on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network and YouTube.

Jayson Tatum opens up about how All-Star obsession affected his play

Jayson Tatum opens up about how All-Star obsession affected his play

Remember when Jayson Tatum became an NBA superstar?

It was about two months ago when the Boston Celtics forward went on an absolute tear, averaging 30.7 points over 12 games in the month of February.

It was also about two months ago when Tatum learned he'd made the 2020 NBA All-Star Game for the first time in his career.

That's no coincidence according to Tatum, who admitted to CLNS Media's Jeff Goodman an obsession over making the All-Star team impacted his focus prior to February.

"Early in the season, I put so much pressure on myself mentally," Tatum said on Goodman's "Good 'N Plenty" podcast. "Obviously, I wanted to win. I wanted us to be a really good team, but I also thought about making the All-Star Game every day."

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Tatum admitted to texting his shooting coach, Drew Hanlen, after both bad and good games to wonder how they affected his All-Star stock.

"Every time I had a bad game I remember I would text Drew and I'd be like, ‘Drew, I don’t think I’m gonna make it anymore' and he’d be like, 'Bro, relax,' " "And then I would have a good game and I’d be like, 'Bro, I think I’m gonna make it.’ "

Tatum recalled a particularly ugly performance in early November -- more than two months before All-Star rosters came out -- that made him fret.

"When I went 1-for-18 (against the Dallas Mavericks), I was in my head like: 'Everybody is going to think about this one. I’m not going to make it.' "

It's sometimes easy to forget Tatum is a 22-year-old kid who can caught up focusing on the wrong things. Fortunately for the Celtics, Tatum made the cut -- and has been playing like a bona-fide All-Star ever since.

"It was like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders when I found out," Tatum said. "Ever since then I’ve just played a lot more relaxed and a lot more free, and I think that had a lot to do with it."

The coronavirus pandemic has put Tatum's coming-out party on hold, but it's refreshing to know he's aware that worrying about individual accolades impacted his game.