CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Before the Rising Stars Challenge, Boston Celtics wing Jayson Tatum said Team USA would win.

They did.

And before Saturday’s Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Tatum was once again making a bold proclamation that he would be the last one standing when all was said and done.

After knocking off Memphis’ Mike Conley and Denver’s NIkola Jokic in come-from-behind fashion, the only thing that stood between him and the Skills Challenge crown was Atlanta’s Trae Young.

And in dramatic fashion, Tatum once again was on the comeback trail as he drained a deep 3-pointer to edge Young and emerge as the 2019 Taco Bell Skills Challenge champion.

“Honestly, I didn’t know I was going to hit the shot,” Tatum said. “I just had to give myself a chance, throw it up there and it worked out for the best.”


Hoping for the best is one thing, but Tatum called the victory for himself hours in advance.

“I definitely tried to win,” Tatum said. “I didn’t want to go out there too cool. I wanted to leave All-Star (weekend) with something.”

And for it to come in an event sponsored by Taco Bell (Tatum’s nickname is Taco Jay for his love of his mom’s tacos), made it all that much sweeter.

“Calling Taco Bell tomorrow,” Tatum quipped. “I need a deal; I love tacos.”

And he loves winning, which is something he did quite a bit of this weekend.

In addition to being the 2019 Taco Bell Skills Challenge champion, Tatum also had 30 points in Team USA’s 161-144 win over Team World in the Rising Stars challenge on Friday.

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