In six seasons in the NBA, Celtics small forward Jayson Tatum has been to four Eastern Conference Finals and one NBA Finals but none of that resulted in a ring.
Despite this, earning that many Finals appearances in Tatum’s young NBA career is a big achievement and Heat legend Dwayne Wade has some advice for the 25-year-old.
“Yeah, next up is showing up next year and doing it all over again,” Wade told Sports Illustrated. “Head up high, keep taking the hits, keep learning from them. I think it’s a challenge. We have challenges in life. Right now, he’s going through a challenge. He’s had a lot of success in this game but hasn’t had the ultimate success I’m sure he wants. He wants to play for that championship. He wants to win that championship.
“But he’s had a lot of times where he’s been right there. And a lot of people like to talk about it like that’s a bad thing. No, please give me a lot of opportunities at it. … I want to see him get everything he wants from the game. But you’ve got to have patience with it as well. Your career doesn’t look like someone else’s; it just doesn’t.”
Tatum and Jaylen Brown have been a force to be reckoned with at the Celtics and have forged one of the best duos in the league.
Though they have stumbled at times during big moments.
Wade noted that he doesn’t personally know what Tatum and Brown’s relationship is like but he does know what it’s like to grind for a championship.
“You don’t just win because you have talent,” Wade said. “You don’t just win because that’s what you want to do. Everything has to align. You’ve got to be healthy at the right time. You’ve got to be making shots at the right time. Like, there are so many things that come into play for you to win a championship. It’s not just being the best team. It’s not just being the best player. And it’s not just because, ‘Hey, I want it.’ Well, a lot of people want it.
“And so, for those guys, as I said, they just have to continue to keep showing up. Continue to keep putting in the work. Continue to keep believing in something. And continue to keep learning from it, learning from the game. Because what you’re going to have to do once you get that trophy, you’re going to have to do it all over again next year anyway. So do it all over again this year. … I hope one day I get to see those two young men hoist that trophy because they’re two of my favorite players to watch.”
Brown just signed a five-year, $304 million deal – the most lucrative contract in the NBA’s history, so it seems Boston have high hopes for the 26-year-old.
The Celtics pulled off a blockbuster trade which involved giving up their longest-serving player in Marcus Smart to obtain big man Kristaps Porzingis.
Could Porzingis be the missing piece from Boston’s championship puzzle?
Only time will tell.