Several NBA players have a Michael Jordan story they treasure. Though most of the stories are embarrassing if they played against him or inspiring if they looked up to him growing up, it's a memory they tell repeatedly. Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum has a Jordan story as well. Just like the old heads that came before it, it was degrading but in a different way.
Dinner with His Airness
Tatum signed with the Jordan brand in 2019, and they announced it in Paris. Together with fellow Jordan athletes like Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, and Carmelo Anthony, they had dinner with His Airness himself. Before the table filled up, Tatum arrived and saw Jordan, his wife, and Spike Lee. Though he had spent the entire day with Mike, Tatum wasn't used to being around the GOAT.
"He is sitting down. Him, his wife, and Spike Lee. So I'm like, 'Should I go sit down at my table, or should I speak first and then go sit down?' I'm like, 'No, I'm gonna go speak.' And I'm shaking I want to go shake his hand, and I knock over his wine glass, and it broke, and it spilled all over the table. And I was just like, 'Oh my God.' I was trying to clean it up, and he was like, 'You good. Relax. It's alright,'" Tatum said.'
You can't blame Tatum for giving in to the jitters. Yes, he was good enough to catch Jordan's attention. But no matter how skilled you are as a baller, you know that Jordan was simply the best to do it. It's normal to feel nervous around a global icon.
It would be interesting to know if Tatum asked Jordan about basketball moves and secret techniques. Do they have a relationship the way Jordan and Kobe did? After all, Tatum is known as one of Kobe Bryant's proteges. Tatum trained with the Black Mamba. And it's pretty evident that Tatum patterned his game similarly to how Kobe played back in the day.
Tatum had a great opportunity to fall in the same category as Jordan and Kobe last year when he guided the Boston Celtics to the NBA Finals. In the NBA, one can be heralded great when you have at least one championship ring on your finger.
But alas, it wasn't meant to be. The Golden State Warriors were just too good for Tatum and his crew. But the Celtics are still in the title hunt amid all the offseason controversies. The team did a great job blocking the noise and focusing on the main objective. This season may be the year Tatum finally gets his gold.