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Kyrie Irving’s message to Jayson Tatum on way out of Boston

Celtics, Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum

Kyrie Irving had a notable message for Jayson Tatum as he left the Boston Celtics. The two players, both Duke alums, had bonded during Tatum’s pre-draft process, his selection to the Celtics, and reconnected once Irving was traded in the summer of 2017.

Irving’s message was short and sweet:

“Ky told me this is my time and to embrace that role and be that dude,” Tatum said of his conversation with Irving, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The young Celtics star often receives calls from Irving on his off days, something that gives the first-time All-Star some comfort:

“Ky is like my big brother,” said Tatum. “We still talk to this day, and we’ve talked a few times these playoffs. He always encourages me to be special. Having that relationship with him and having somebody like him in my ear at a young age, it means a lot.

“You can steal from a lot of different guys — Ky, Kobe (Bryant) — but you have to do it your own way. I’m one of the youngest guys on this team but I know the role I have. I know how these guys view me and they value what I have to say. I want the best for everybody and I just want to win. I’ve been more outspoken this year.”

Jayson Tatum notably struggled early in his second season after a very promising rookie year with the Celtics. The Duke product had relied too much on his one-on-one “Kobe” tendencies after working with the late Los Angeles Lakers legend in the summer of 2018.

Tatum brought his best game yet in 2019-20, now out of Irving’s shadow, and taking on the responsibility as the team’s leading scorer.

Irving had often been chided for his poor leadership during his two years with the Celtics, but he has shown another facet of his virtues by encouraging Tatum to turn into an All-Star-caliber player.