Jayson Tatum has mostly kept quiet about last year's All-NBA snub. Until now, the Boston Celtics star has let his play do the talking.
Tatum finally opened up about missing out on All-NBA honors and subsequently, a $32.6 million bonus to his rookie max extension. He spoke about the costly snub during an appearance on JJ Redick's "The Old Man and the Three" podcast.
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"The only time I let it affect me, I remember last year it was in the playoffs -- the playoffs might've been over -- and everybody was coming out with their All-NBA ballots and podcasts and who they were voting for," Tatum told Redick. "I had $30 million on the line to make it. I specifically remember one person saying, 'I'm not a fan of his shot selection, so I just couldn't put him on my All-NBA ballot.' And I was like, I was baffled.
"The fact that somebody can have that thought and basically cost someone $30 million. Forget about me, say the next rookie extension guys that come in, I think that has to change because there's no criteria set for the media, for the voters, of what they should vote for. It's all opinion-based. There's no like, 'He should have to play this many games,' or 'They should be in the playoffs or average this many points.' It's all like, 'Well, I like this guy a little bit more,' or certain things like that. I think there's just a little bit too much on the line for that."
Tatum, who turns 24 on March 3, adds it wasn't losing out on $32.6 million that rubbed him the wrong way. Rather, it was how the sometimes questionable opinions of a few media members can make such a sizable impact.
"There's so much that bothered me with that whole situation," Tatum said. "The narrative was, 'Jayson didn't make All-NBA, he loses $30 million.' From that headline, nobody's going to feel bad for me. I still got $175 million. Like, nobody's going to feel bad. I don't want anybody to feel bad about the money part. My lifestyle hasn't changed, it's not about that. I think just as the results came out and I looked at how people voted, what went into the media members, their process of voting. That was the frustrating part."
Tatum has plenty of competition for All-NBA honors last season, but he still has a reasonable gripe. Year 4 of his NBA career was his best yet as he notched career-highs in points per game (26.4), rebounds (7.4) and assists (4.3) while shooting 45.9% from the floor and 38.6% from 3-point range.
So far in Year 5, Tatum has continued to show why he'll be a perennial All-NBA candidate for the foreseeable future. He's averaging 25.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 4.2 assists through 56 games and was named an All-Star for the third consecutive season.