After more than a year of excoriating Kyrie Irving as the root of all their problems, Boston fans had to hear ESPN’s Rachel Nichols reveal that their young star, Jayson Tatum, had been consulting with Irving throughout the “bubble” on leadership!
“The 22-year-old has been trying to take on more of a leadership role, something he’s been getting advice [on] from — wait for it — yes, Kyrie Irving,” Nichols reported prior to Sunday night’s Celtics-Heat Game 6 broadcast. “Kyrie has been calling Jayson occasionally through his time bubble to talk, offer advice.”
Earlier in the “bubble,” back in May, Tatum endorsed Irving during a podcast with Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes.
“His decision to go to Brooklyn, obviously a lot of people were mad and things like that, but us as basketball players, we understand once you get to a certain level and a certain point in your career, you’ve earned the right to make the decision on what makes you happy and what you want to do,” Tatum said.
“So I was happy for him. He wanted to go back home and be closer to his family. I think everybody should have that opportunity.”
Irving, of course, has been vilified by Boston fans, who claimed he had been a bad locker room influence. Some even suggested that he timed his shoulder injury to avoid a TD Center crowd back in November. Former Celtic player Kendrick Perkins echoed the fans on ESPN. He also attacked Irving for a “lack of leadership” in the debate over whether players should join the “bubble.” Not a great track record there, Perk.
The Celtics failure to advance to the NBA Finals also suggested that Boston fans belief that Kemba Walker is better than Irving was flawed.
Of course, Nichols comment did little to change Celtics fans. Here’s a couple that came out just after the ESPN reporter revealed the connection.
I knew something was up with Tatum 2 games ago acting like Kyrie being not interested in the game. Rachel Nichols just said he's been talking to Kyrie alot during these playoffs.. That's not a good sign! Hopefully it doesn't hurt us!— ☘King Guevara617☘ (@cubansoldier) September 27, 2020
- NBA Rumors: Jayson Tatum getting leadership advice from Kyrie Irving in NBA bubble - NBC Sports Boston
- Jayson Tatum Made Arguably the Most Questionable Move of His Career Before Losing To the Heat - David Wysong - Sportscasting