Jayson Tatum revealed to MassLive's Souichi Terada how one former Boston Celtics teammate he shared the roster with for just 22 games over two seasons, Jabari Parker, was a major inspiration in his decision to attend Duke and play for Coach K in Durham.
“I did see he hit a buzzer-beater the other day,” Tatum prefaced before saying, "I haven’t talked to Jabari in a minute, but somebody that I have a lot of respect for. Happy that he’s playing at a high level. Obviously, I got to play with him, during two different stints with the Celtics. He was the reason I went to Duke. I wanted to be like him. I have a lot of love for him and happy he’s playing well.”
Terada believes it's not surprising that the Chicago-born Parker inspired the fellow Midwesterner, St. Louis native Jayson Tatum.
"It’s no surprise Tatum got some inspiration from Parker," Terada prefaced before saying, "Tatum is three years younger than Parker, so he watched Parker at Duke growing up during some formative years. Tatum ended up playing for the Blue Devils during the 2016-17 season before going third overall in the 2017 draft."
Jabari Parker explains why he hasn't played since 2021-22 season with Boston Celtics
Parker signed with FC Barcelona Bàsquet in August after more than a year and a half since his Celtics departure -- and during an appearance on "The Bernstein and McKnight Show" in November, he explained why he believes that is.
“I just stick to my strengths," Parker said. "Look at everybody in the league. They don’t pay players to play defense…they pay people to score the ball, and I would hope that somebody scores the ball on me if they paid them that much.
"You know that certain guys have a (scoring) average, and no matter what you do, they still get that average…we’re professionals, everybody scores. It’s just a matter of limiting them as much as you can and trying to contain them."
Time will tell if Parker will focus more on the defensive end -- the sole reason why the former No. 2 overall draft pick isn't continuing his NBA career the most -- enough overseas to one day return to the Association.
If he does, the Boston Celtics could sure use some bench scoring on the wing at a low-cost rate with Derrick White, Jrue Holiday, and even Sam Hauser all due raises in the coming offseasons.