Watch CBS News

Jayson Tatum thanks fans for voting him in as an All-Star starter

BOSTON -- Jayson Tatum grew up dreaming of being a star in the NBA. Now that he has reached that level, the Celtics star is not going to take it for granted.

Tatum is heading to his fifth straight NBA All-Star Game after being voted in as a starter on Thursday night. Despite this turning into an annual tradition for the 25-year-old, getting an All-Star nod will never get old for Tatum.

"It means the world. I never get used to it, I never want to take it for granted," he told reporters in Miami after leading the Celtics to a 143-110 trouncing of the Heat. "As a kid it was my dream. I watched All-Star Weekend every year growing up and dreamed about one day being in that game. So to be voted in as a starter, fifth straight year in the game, it doesn't seem real at times."

He certainly earned his spot as the best player on the NBA's best team, but boil things down and All-Star voting is mostly a popularity contest. With the fan vote accounting for 50 percent of the process in electing starters, Tatum made sure to thank his trove of fans for getting him a staring spot in Indiana this year. 

"Thanks to all the fans. There are so many guys they could vote for and I continue to get voted as one of the top guys," he said. "It's pretty cool. I think it's important to celebrate those small wins throughout the season. Obviously, there's more things you want to accomplish, but being an All-Star never gets old and I'm very grateful for that."

As Tatum said, making the All-Star game is not his main goal this year. It's championship or bust for him and the Celtics, and anything short of a title will mean the season was an overall disappointment for Tatum and his teammates.

But it's a long season and, as he pointed out, celebrating these small victories helps get players through the grind. And making it to five straight All-Star games is pretty special.

Tatum is now the 12th member of the Celtics to make it to the All-Star Game in five straight seasons, matching Tommy Heinsohn's run from 1961-1965. But most of the other guys continued their streaks long beyond year five. Kevin McHale went six straight seasons, while JoJo White, Dave Cowens, and Robert Parish all made it to seven straight All-Star games. Bill Sharman went for eight consecutive seasons, while Larry Bird went to nine straight -- and 12 in 13 years. Paul Pierce was an All-Star for 10 straight years.

Then there are the real immortals in Celtics lore: Bill Russell (12 straight) and John Havlicek and Bob Cousy (13 straight). Tatum has a long way to go to reach their level of All-Star greatness.

But he's on his way, and on Feb. 18, he'll look to do something no other Celtics player has done at an All-Star Game: Win MVP honors in back-to-back seasons. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.