Celtics star Jayson Tatum calling Kendrick Perkins earns reaction from Danny Ainge
The former Celtics big man criticized Tatum earlier this month for showing poor body language, also demanding he show better leadership:
Jayson Tatum, you got paid the big bucks! You have the body language and energy level of an underpaid player and it’s hurtin the team. Time to step up and live up to your role, straight up. Carry on…
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) April 7, 2021
Tatum apparently called Big Perk to discuss the tweet and talk things through. That was welcome news to Ainge, who said on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich” show he was pleased the two were able to have a discussion:
“I love the fact that Jayson Tatum picked up the phone and called Perk – that’s good that they have that connection,” Ainge said, via NBC Sports Boston. “I know that Perk only cares for Jayson’s success. I think that there’s players available (to talk to), and I also know that players in our league now, they’re listening to other players.”
Ainge also lauded Tatum for his eagerness to learn and be counseled:
“(Tatum) will seek out those who can help him,” Ainge said, via NBC Sports Boston. “Sounds like he was seeking out Perk and wanted genuine feedback from what Perk was saying about him that he didn’t like.”
Interestingly, Tatum has been unstoppable since receiving those criticisms from Perkins.
The two-time All-Star is averaging 34.5 points per game during Boston’s current four-game winning streak, including a 53-point explosion in an overtime win over the Minnesota Timberwolves last Friday. Tatum is also averaging close to 10 rebounds in this stretch, with double-doubles in three of the four wins.
It is no secret the Celtics need Tatum to play like a superstar in order to make a deep run in the playoffs. Perkins seems to have lit the fuse, though Ainge appears to be suggesting Tatum’s willingness to meet criticism head-on continues to play a key role in his individual development.