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Celtics star Jayson Tatum takes shot at critics after NBA Finals victory: ‘What they gonna say now?’

Jayson Tatum couldn’t believe his eyes as the confetti fell at TD Garden after his Boston Celtics won the NBA Finals over the Dallas Mavericks in five games on Monday night. 

But, during his post-game interview, as he tried to channel his feelings into words, ESPN asked him how the Celtics had been able to battle through talks about expectations, with some doubting their ability to raise the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the end of the season. 

Tatum took a shot at those critics in his answer. 

“We have a resilient group,” he said. “We’ve been through a lot as a team over the last couple years – over my seven years. What they gonna say now?”

Tatum repeated that last question because there have been skeptics for years who didn’t believe Tatum, Jaylen Brown and the other stars on the Celtics could get the job done despite their talent. 


The Celtics hadn’t won the NBA title since the 2007-08 season, though they’ve reached the Finals twice since then, including the 2021-22 campaign with Tatum leading the way. 

However, despite owning the best record in the Eastern Conference the previous two seasons, Boston lost in the Finals to the Golden State Warriors and fell to the Miami Heat in the Conference Finals last season. 

This year, though, the No. 1-seeded Celtics made mince meat of their first (Heat), second (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Conference Finals (Indiana Pacers) opponents before defeating the Mavericks. 

Jayson Tatum vs Mavericks

“It’s a surreal feeling. We did it,” Tatum said to begin his interview with ESPN.  

“We responded all year and this was no different. We owed our crowd, our fans – it’s been a long journey.”

Critics have ripped Tatum in the past for not showing up when his team needed it most in the postseason. But he averaged 22.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game over these Finals contests. It was Brown, though, who was named Finals MVP. 

In Game 5 Monday night, Tatum led the pack with 31 points on 11-of-24 shooting, while dishing out 11 assists and bringing in eight rebounds over 44 minutes on the court. 

Jayson Tatum with Larry O'Brien Trophy

As Tatum said, it’s been a long journey to get to this point. And though the Celtics had the trophy within reach in the past, they’ve finally brought the title back to Boston, which they’ve done 17 times before as a franchise.  

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