Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum is greeted by teammates prior to Game 5 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat Thursday, May 25, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa )AP
Jayson Tatum had a busy offseason this summer prepping for a pivotal year with a rebuilt Celtics roster. The All-Star spent much of that time on the West Coast where he ended up reconnecting with Celtics legend Paul Pierce. The two were documented in Tatum’s Instagram feed working out together at several points throughout the summer.
In his first appearance of the 2023-24 season at Celtics media day, Tatum was eager to talk about the experience.
“I spent a lot of time with Paul Pierce this summer, which was great,” Tatum said. He was really motivated. Paul actually lost 15-20 pounds. It was about four weeks. He came to the gym every day. It was cool to have him around. He told us a lot of stories about championship team, a lot of things we’ll try to help apply to this year. And hopefully we can see a lot more of Paul.”
Tatum also added a lot of strength to his frame during those workouts with Pierce and he explained the reasoning behind that strategy.
“I mean, I’ve always lifted heavier in the summer than I do during the season,” Tatum said. “I guess I have set some personal records in the weight room this summer, but not like that much more than I did last summer. I have put on like 12 pounds, and I think part of that is getting a little older. I think my body is maturing. I might lose some weight once the season starts, once we start playing four times a week. But I think I’ve just gotten a little bit bigger every year, and I’ve gotten a little bit older, so I think those go hand in hand.”
Tatum could be spending much more time at power forward this year in the wake of the team dealing away Robert Williams as part of the trade for Jrue Holiday. That extra muscle should pay off as the team tries to make up for a potentially shorthanded frontcourt.
“My voice, my presence is felt during games, huddles, locker room, practice, film,” Tatum said. “I speak up. Everybody might not see it, I might not be the loudest, but I speak my mind. I listen to guys, and guys listen to me, so it’s a mutual respect thing. Is there pressure? Yeah, we have a really good team. We have really good players. People expect us to get to the championship and win, and when we don’t, we didn’t necessarily meet expectations. It’s a handful of teams each year that can realistically probably win the championship, and we’re in that mix. So that’s what we’re aiming for, and that’s what we should be aiming for.”