Jayson Tatum meets Celtics legend Larry Bird for first time before 2024 NBA All-Star Game: ‘I was anxious’

Jayson Tatum

Jayson Tatum has been a Celtic for seven years, and yet he hadn’t crossed paths with one of the greatest players in franchise history until Sunday.

Before the 2024 NBA All-Star Game tipped off, Tatum revealed in an interview with TNT’s Jamal Crawford that he had some “juices flowing” because he had just met Celtics legend Larry Bird for the first time.

“I ain’t going to lie, I met Larry Bird tonight for the first time. I’ve never met Larry Bird in my life,” Tatum said. “I got to meet him and I was anxious, so I got some juices flowing for the game right now.”

The two then snapped a picture before Tatum took the floor for the main event of All-Star Weekend.

It’s quite a surprise that Tatum and Bird had never met.

 

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The Celtics selected Tatum with the No. 3 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. He’s since become one of the biggest stars in the NBA, earning five All-Star selections and three All-NBA selections. He led the franchise to the NBA Finals in 2022 and was named Eastern Conference Finals MVP in the process.

The Eastern Conference Finals MVP award is named after none other than Bird. Tatum was the first-ever recipient of the honor.

“I still feel like a kid at some times that I’m truly living out my dream,” Tatum said at the time. “I thank God every day just to be in this position to be able to do that. To be the first person to win this award, obviously after Larry Bird, it still hasn’t like sunk in yet. I’m going to take it home and show [my son] Deuce [Monday] and enjoy it.”

Bird, meanwhile, is widely considered to be one of the greatest players to ever suit up for the Celtics. He spent his entire 13-year career in Boston while posting averages of 24.3 points, 10.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists. In addition to 12 All-Star selections, 10 All-NBA selections and three MVP awards, he won three championships and two Finals MVP awards with the Celtics.

Bird has spent most of his post-playing career with the Pacers. He left the franchise as an advisor in 2022 but returned in 2023 to serve as a consultant.

Bird’s ties to Indiana extend beyond his role with the Pacers. He was born in West Baden Springs and went to Indiana State.

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