Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum is not even two years into his National Basketball Association career.
But he already knows what he wants to be when it’s all said and done. And Tatum laid it all out perfectly in an ESPN interview likely missed due to last-minute Christmas shopping on the part of everybody everywhere.
“I want to win a championship,” Tatum, speaking with ESPN’s Sam Alipour, began. “I want to be MVP, I want to be an All-Star, I want to be like the next Paul [Pierce] for the Celtics, spend my whole career here and have the City of Boston love me.
“Because they love Paul Pierce in Boston.”
This, of course, is not the first time the two have been compared to one another. Pierce was one of the players Tatum was compared to coming out of Duke, and Pierce himself even mentioned that Tatum plays like a ‘mature’ version of No. 34.
“He looks like an older version of me, when I started doing the step-back and stuff,” Pierce said in an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Boston back in 2017. “When I’m watching him, he looks like a mature version of my game, like sixth, seventh, eighth year. He sees the defense. He knows what’s going to happen before it happens. He understands his position, footwork, his step-back (jumper) is there. His offensive repertoire seems complete. The sky is the limit for that kid.”
Since that ‘sky’s the limit’ quote from Pierce on Tatum, the 20-year-old has been downright absurd, emerging as a clear building block for the Celtics (especially during their shorthanded postseason run last year), and is averaging 17 points and 6.5 rebounds per game through 33 games this season.
Still, the 6-foot-8 Tatum has a long way to go when it comes to being the next Paul Pierce, especially when you look at Pierce’s ranks on the franchise’s leaderboard, the championship banner he helped raise to the TD Garden rafters, and the No. 34 that hangs in the rafters.
But with quotes like that, Tatum is already off to a great start when it comes to getting Boston to love him like Pierce.