At just 22 years old, Boston Celtics All-Star forward, Jayson Tatum is displaying leadership beyond his age.
Teaming up with Washington Wizards guard, Bradley Beal, the duo have donated $250,000 (usd) to St. Louis and Boston communities via the Jayson Tatum Foundation.
"[I was] trying to find a way that I could be of some assistance during this time," Tatum told reporters in a conference call.
"[I am] always trying to find a way to give back, especially back in St. Louis, Brad is from St. Louis as well so we teamed up to donate to the people back home in St. Louis and I wanted to help the city of Boston so that's how that came out."
The donation will go towards helping the Greater Boston Food Bank, the St. Louis Area Foodbank, and food bank network Feeding America.
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As this virus continues to spread, the future has never felt so unpredictable. And while I sincerely pray that everyone is staying safe, healthy and social distancing, the reality is this virus has negatively impacted our families, loved ones and communities in so many ways. Because of the hardships created through this national health crisis and in an effort to help those in need in the Boston and St. Louis area, I am, through The Jayson Tatum Foundation, partnering with @feedingamerica and @lineagelogistics on their "Share A Meal" campaign. Together, @lineagelogistics and The Jayson Tatum Foundation are pledging to match $250,000 in the Boston area and, with my good friend and fellow basketball player Bradley Beal, $250,000 in the St. Louis area, to help provide meals through @feedingamerica, @stlfoodbank and @gr8bosfoodbank. This campaign will help some of the hardest hit communities in Boston and in Brad and my hometown of St. Louis, receive meals. If you are able to help, I am asking my family, friends, fans and partners to follow the link in my bio to help make a difference in our communities during a very difficult time. I would especially like to thank all the frontline workers and volunteers who are working around the clock to keep all of us safe and healthy. Together…. we will make a difference. #NBATogether #ActsOfCaring
For Tatum, the NBA hiatus has halted the best stretch of basketball he had played in his career. Tatum averaged 30.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists across 12 games in February, claiming the Eastern Conference Player of the Month award in the process.
"I'm not thinking about that.," Tatum responded when asked if it was the hiatus was a tough pill to swallow on the back of his stellar play.
"Honestly I love the game and would love to be out there playing and hopefully whether it's this season or next we'll be able to get out there but the health and safety of everyone else is more important and I understand that. I'm not upset or anything, it's unfortunate but we'll get through it."
"It's tough, everybody wants to be playing but everybody understands there are more important things going on. Whatever happens with the season I'm sure they'll make the right decision and in the best interests being health and safe first. Figuring out this thing first is more important and everything else will take care of itself."
Like many players around the league, Tatum admits he hasn't been able to get shots up since the league was suspended, jokingly adding that a court at home is an expensive luxury.
"It's a new experience and I'm not alone, there's a lot of other guys going through the same thing so we are just trying to figure it out."
"I got a pelaton, some jump ropes, I've got a couple of weights and things like that to stay in shape and try to stay fit. It's not as lavish as the practice facility but you make do with what you got."
With plenty of time on his hands, Tatum has been watching plenty of TV, helping his mum out around the house and even doing a little cleaning, but basketball is never far from his mind, with a classic NBA game catching his attention.
Jayson Tatum with the poster on his head! 😤- SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 14, 2020
(via @celtics) pic.twitter.com/mOYyhGVowv
"I watched the entire 2010 game seven when the Lakers played the Celtics. I think that was the first time I watched it since I watched it live, I was like 12 and I remember exactly where I was at when I watched that game in 2010."
How has watching the game changed in the years since 12-year-old Tatum was glued to his television screen?
"When I watched it in 2010 I didn't really understand it all I just knew the last time they played Kobe lost in 08, so I wanted Kobe to win. Now re-watching it, understanding that Kobe is no longer with us, just to see those guys that were on the team." I forgot how low scoring the game was."
"I forgot how low scoring the game was. Every possession was tough, guys looked like they were exhausted, I just look at it differently now as my understanding of NBA basketball is different."
Like the rest of the NBA world, Tatum has no idea when basketball will return, but in the meantime, he is going to continue using his significant platform for good, as the world continues to fight the coronavirus pandemic in search of saving lives and returning to some sense of normalcy.
"As professional athletes using our platform, using our voice to speak out. We can reach so many people around the world through social media and things like that and just sending out a positive message and encouraging people to do their part and get through this together is the role that we have."
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