Jayson Tatum's son Deuce is becoming a TD Garden rock star

Jayson Tatum's son Deuce is becoming a TD Garden rock star

This Friday is Jayson Tatum Day here at NBC Sports Boston. Be sure to check out our exclusive content around Tatum throughout the day, both online and on the broadcast of Celtics-Timberwolves, which begins Friday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 8 p.m. You can also stream it on the MyTeams App.

BOSTON — The Boston Celtics’ cheerleaders had lined the walls near the tunnel deep inside TD Garden and, minutes after Boston’s win over the Denver Nuggets on Dec. 6, they roared in excitement when the birthday boy turned the corner from the court.

Two-year-old Jayson Christopher Tatum Jr. — better known by his nickname Deuce — smiled and playfully waved at the squealing well-wishers.

"People like him,” his All-Star father would later shrug.

Yes, Deuce Tatum might just be the biggest celebrity at TD Garden these days. Fans scream for him by name whenever he’s walking with his grandmother, Brandy Cole, to his loge-level seats. Ask the elder Tatum’s Celtics teammates and they’ll confirm that Deuce is easily the biggest rock star in the Tatum family.

"Deuce by far. He’s Deuce,” said Marcus Smart. "He’s got everybody changing his diapers and, whatever he wants, they’re attentive to him. It’s definitely Deuce by far. Whatever Deuce says goes. Deuce cries and it’s always like, ‘What’s wrong, Deuce?’ When JT cries, everybody just looks at him. I gotta go with Deuce.”

Tatum Jr. was born just two months into his father’s first NBA season. The elder Tatum had kept the news of his impending fatherhood quiet before he was born but now he’s very much a part of Tatum’s basketball journey.

At All-Star Weekend in Chicago last week, the Tatum boys posed together for pictures, the younger one wearing a shirt that read, “I’m kind of a big deal around here.” Video of the younger Tatum wearing a shirt with the airbrushed message, “My daddy is an All-Star,” went viral when he surprised Tatum in the Celtics’ training room after the announcement.

Deuce is everywhere, even if it’s simply his name and a heart shape etched on Tatum’s shoes before every game. Tatum Jr. invaded his father’s postgame news conference after his first 40-point game against the New Orleans Pelicans in January (hilariously grabbing at the windscreens on the microphones in front of him) and has been whisked off the court in his father’s arms after big wins over both Los Angeles teams over the past few weeks.

The elder Tatum, who was famously Cole’s college sidekick after she gave birth at a young age, appreciates getting to share these basketball moments with Deuce.

"It’s cool, to be young, myself, and kinda go through this journey of being an NBA player. We get to do it together,” said Tatum. “To be able to see … all the big joy and memories that I have here, and him coming to all the games, it’s fun.”

Deuce is a big enough celebrity that some Celtics fans have playfully started suggesting that Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge should start stockpiling 2036 first-round draft picks so he can pair the Tatum father/son combo when the youngster turns 18.

Informed of this, Tatum laughed and said, "That would be cool.”

For now, he’s content to watch Deuce dominate on the mini hoop. But, as idols like LeBron James make long treks to watch their kids’ games, Tatum admits he’s excited about the possibility of being a basketball dad.

"If he grows up and wants to play basketball, I think about it. Just how he’ll play and just to watch him enjoy the game,” said Tatum. "I think he’s left-handed, too. So that’s good. When he grabbed the ball on the little hoop, he always grabs it with his left hand and dunks it. We’ll see.”

At All-Star Weekend, Deuce happily stomped onto the court during the team’s Saturday practice. He got up shots through an arms hoop made by Russell Westbrook. Later, Tatum Jr. sat courtside on his father’s lap, sandwiched between Kemba Walker and Donovan Mitchell, and watched All-Star Saturday night festivities while munching on a bag of pretzels.

The elder Tatum fills his social media with pictures of his celebrity son. Deuce has strutted around Madison Square Garden in Timberland boots and jeans. He floats around the Garden in the arms of Cole while wearing the most stylish Nike jumpsuits and freshest kid sneakers you’ll see.

Back in Tatum’s native St. Louis, the elder Tatum had a court dedicated to him at the Wohl Recreation Center. There beneath one of the free-throw lines is Deuce’s name in red cursive letters. Deuce is also in the name of an Air Max shoe that Nike crafted for Tatum.

Even Tatum’s Celtics teammates are trying to get in on the Deuce experience.

"I need a boy so it makes me a little jealous watching [Tatum] and Deuce. I love my girls, though," said Gordon Hayward, who has started bringing his girls onto the court at the Garden for some pregame dribbling exercises.

"It’s cool being able to talk to [Tatum] about being a father. That’s kinda helped us build our relationship. We’re able to connect on that level. There’s nothing like being a father. Certainly, as Deuce grows up, it’ll be fun for him.”

But it might be even more fun for Deuce.

Noted Enes Kanter: “Everybody in Boston, everybody in the whole world, loves [Deuce] and he’s having fun.”

Jayson Tatum, Bradley Beal team up for generous act amid coronavirus pandemic

Jayson Tatum, Bradley Beal team up for generous act amid coronavirus pandemic

Jayson Tatum is finding a way to make an impact with his day job on hold.

The Boston Celtics forward has partnered with Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal in pledging to donate a total of $500,000 to Boston- and St. Louis-area food banks.

Tatum made the announcement Monday on Instagram, revealing an initiative with Feeding America and Lineage Logistics called "Share a Meal."

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As this virus continues to spread, the future has never felt so unpredictable.  And while I sincerely pray that everyone is staying safe, healthy and social distancing, the reality is this virus has negatively impacted our families, loved ones and communities in so many ways.  Because of the hardships created through this national health crisis and in an effort to help those in need in the Boston and St. Louis area, I am, through The Jayson Tatum Foundation, partnering with @feedingamerica and @lineagelogistics on their “Share A Meal” campaign.  Together, @lineagelogistics and The Jayson Tatum Foundation are pledging to match $250,000 in the Boston area and, with my good friend and fellow basketball player Bradley Beal, $250,000 in the St. Louis area, to help provide meals through @feedingamerica, @stlfoodbank and @gr8bosfoodbank.  This campaign will help some of the hardest hit communities in Boston and in Brad and my hometown of St. Louis, receive meals.  If you are able to help, I am asking my family, friends,  fans and partners to follow the link in my bio to help make a difference in our communities during a very difficult time. I would especially like to thank all the frontline workers and volunteers who are working around the clock to keep all of us safe and healthy. Together…. we will make a difference. #NBATogether #ActsOfCaring

A post shared by Jayson Tatum🙏🏀 (@jaytatum0) on

Tatum and Beal, who both grew up in the St. Louis area, each pledged to match $250,000 in donations to the Greater Boston Food Bank and the St. Louis Area Food Bank as the coronavirus pandemic threatens food security in both cities.

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"This campaign will help some of the hardest hit communities in Boston and in Brad and my hometown of St. Louis, receive meals," Tatum wrote, asking those who are able to donate to either food bank.

Boston had 1,877 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday, more than several U.S. states. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh issued new measures Sunday encouraging all residents to wear a face covering while leaving their homes and instituting a recommended curfew of 9 p.m.

Tatum and Beal's donations are generous gestures as both cities attempt to deal with a virus that already has disrupted many lives.

Tatum had been enjoying a breakout season for the Celtics before the NBA was suspended on March 11, but it sounds like the 22-year-old has his priorities in order with basketball on pause.

UPDATE (1:30 p.m. ET): Tatum was asked about his pledge Monday during a conference call with reporters. Here's what he had to say:

"Just trying to find a way that I could be of some assistance during this time. Always trying to find a way to give back, especially back in St. Louis and, Brad [Beal] is from St. Louis as well, so he teamed up with me to donate to help the people back home in St. Louis, and then to help the city of Boston. That’s how that came about."

Celtics star Jayson Tatum reveals one of his favorite rookie moments

Celtics star Jayson Tatum reveals one of his favorite rookie moments

For many NBA rookies, it can be pretty awe-inspiring to compete against star players who you've admired all your life.

It sure sounds like Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum felt this way when he played against the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road as a rookie during the 2017-18 season.

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The Thunder, at that time, had a veteran-laden roster that included star forwards Paul George and Carmelo Anthony -- two versatile wings with an offensive game similar to Tatum's. Tatum recently talked about his favorite rookie moments, and he mentioned a quick interaction with Anthony that really hit him.

The Celtics trailed the Thunder by 18 points at halftime that night, but thanks to a 22-point second half performance from point guard Kyrie Irving, Boston prevailed with a 101-94 victory to extend its win streak to seven games. Tatum scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds in 30 minutes of action.

The admiration between Tatum and Anthony goes both ways. Earlier this year, Anthony said he loves watching Tatum play and noted the Celtics forward is "like a little brother to me."

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Tatum had a brilliant rookie campaign and helped lead the Celtics to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The 22-year-old forward has taken a huge step toward superstardom in the current 2019-20 season, during which he made his first NBA All-Star Game appearance in February. He also won Eastern Conference Player of the Month for February after averaging 30.7 points per game over that stretch.

If Tatum's career trajectory keeps rising, he could someday be a veteran superstar who rookies are really excited to play against for the first time.