Training Kobe Bryant blinded people’s perception of Jayson Tatum, says Shannon Sharpe

Sharpe had previously touted Tatum as the best player on the Boston Celtics.

Training Kobe Bryant blinded people’s perception of Jayson Tatum, says Shannon Sharpe

Kobe Bryant and Jayson Tatum

Shannon Sharpe made a bold claim on ESPN’s First Take. He suggested that Kobe Bryant’s mentorship of Jayson Tatum has blinded people to the talent of Jaylen Brown. Sharpe had previously touted Tatum as the best player on the Boston Celtics, but now he’s not so sure.

Tatum’s association with the late Kobe Bryant created a perception that he was destined for greatness. This narrative, combined with Tatum’s impressive individual accolades, led many to assume he was the clear-cut best player on the Celtics.

He was mentored by Kobe. He trained with Kobe. He adopted Kobe’s mindset. He was a three-time All-NBA. I think he made the All-Star games first. And so he had all these things lining up for him. He was supposed to be the face, the next face of the NBA… At the beginning of the year, and even going into these playoffs, I said Jayson Tatum. I can no longer say that with any degree of certainty right now.
Shannon Sharpe on ESPN’s First Take

While Tatum’s mentorship under Bryant is impressive, it has created a bias that has led many to overlook Brown’s impressive play. As Sharpe noted, Jaylen Brown has forced him to rethink his position, and he can no longer say with certainty that Jayson Tatum is the best player on the Celtics.

JT and JB have put up impressive numbers as Tatum averaged 26.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game, while Brown averaged 23 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game. In the current postseason, Tatum is averaging 24.9 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game, while Brown is averaging 24.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game. 

Jayson Tatum’s selfless playmaking drives Celtics’ championship pursuit

The Boston Celtics have taken a 2-0 lead in the 2024 NBA Finals, winning both games at home against the Dallas Mavericks without a dominant scoring performance from Jayson Tatum. Despite criticism for his perceived passivity and inefficient shooting, Tatum has emphasized the importance of his playmaking role. 

It’s not all about scoring. I can be the guy rebounding and getting assists and drawing attention, right? I’m going to have the ball in certain spots, right? I draw so much attention. I’m not always going to be the guy to get the shot, but sometimes sacrificing, being in those spots to make the play that we get the best shot possible, knowing that what they want to take away in their schemes and things like that. So being the guy in different ways.
Jayson Tatum said in a recent press conference

Tatum has been focused on rebounding, getting assists, and drawing attention to create opportunities for his teammates. He provided 12 assists in Game 2 and had a points-rebounds double-double in Game 1. Tatum’s selflessness and willingness to adapt his game have been key to the Celtics’ success.

As the series shifts to Dallas, Tatum’s determination to win his first NBA title is clear. He has put his ego aside and is focused on doing what’s best for the team as the Celtics are two wins away from their first championship in 16 years. 

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