Jayson Tatum is going to be part of the Boston Celtics’ contingent in Orlando, but the All-Star forward acknowledged that he’s not “excited” or “thrilled” about returning to play.
Yes, the coronavirus gave him reason to seriously consider not playing.
The conversations throughout the country focused on racism, police brutality and systemic change were also factors that Tatum gave serious thought to.
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But the biggest reason for him to think long and hard about not playing?
That would be his son Deuce, who is 2 ½ years old.
If you have tuned into a Celtics game in the past couple of years, you have at some point seen his son waddling on the court or firmly entrenched in Daddy’s arms at a post-game press conference.
That’s why Tatum’s decision to join the Celtics in Orlando was one that he acknowledged wasn’t made until a short time ago.
“I was very unsure. I didn’t make a decision until a few days ago,” he said in a conference call with reporters. “There’s a multitude of reasons why I wasn’t comfortable; still not excited about it, still not thrilled. Obviously, what we’re fighting against, racism and social injustice and equality. The virus is still very well and alive and continues to rise in Florida.
Tatum added, “For me, just being away from my son for two or three months. That’s what’s really bothering me, knowing that he's only 2 ½. Especially that young, their growth, they change every week. Just knowing I’m going to miss out on that … it’s been tough.”
More than anything else, Tatum said his decision to join the team was made because of his desire to compete for a title while continuing to elevate the discussion on racism and social injustice while using the platform that will exist in Orlando with so much attention being paid to himself and the rest of the players there.
“Hopefully this is a great opportunity to continue to raise awareness and be part of history,” Tatum said. “As we continue the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight against racism, hopefully this is going to help. A lot of people are going to be watching. I think we can make a stand and continue to raise awareness and not let the conversation die down. I think it’s going to be part of history. That’s a big reason why I decided to go.
Tatum added, “Like I said, I’m not thrilled, excited about it because I’m going to be away from my son and my family for so long. But I’m old enough to make my own decisions and live with it. I don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for me.”