Jayson Tatum says Kyrie Irving has things he ‘would’ve done differently’

Kyrie Irving Jayson Tatum
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives to the basket against Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half of game four.
Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets playoff date with the Boston Celtics means that Kyrie Irving’s time in Beantown will be back in the spotlight. Irving remains an unpopular figure in Boston after a short stay before eventually joining the Nets in 2019.

His decision to leave left a bad taste in many people’s mouths, but Jayson Tatum told reporters that Kyrie Irving expressed remorse over how things went down during his time there.

“Obviously, we’ve talked and there’s some things that he probably would’ve done differently, but I think that’s just a part of life,” he said. “Nobody’s perfect, and you just gotta move on from it as you get older.”

Boston acquired Irving from Cleveland in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets’ unprotected 2018 first-round pick.

Irving made his debut for the Boston Celtics in their season opener against his former team the Cleveland Cavaliers on Oct. 17. He scored 22 points and 10 assists in a 102-99 loss, but ended up missing the 2018 playoffs with a knee injury that required surgery.

Boston lost in the second round of the playoffs in 2019 and Irving departed from Boston that summer in free agency.

Irving and Tatum played together on the Celtics for two years, which was Tatum’s first two seasons in the NBA. At the time, they shared an agent and they even vacationed together before Irving arrived in Boston.

The two former Duke University players have built a relationship and their bond strengthened during their two years as teammates. Tatum addressed what he learned from playing with Irving early in his NBA career by saying he learned what to do and learned some things not to do.

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“Yeah, he helped me out a lot those first two years, just watching a superstar,” Tatum said. “I got to see him every day, see how he worked, worked on his body and prepare for games and things like that, and learn what to do. And learn some things what not to do. He’d be the first to tell me that. I could just learn from the encounters that we had.”

“But I think that’s just part of life. Nobody’s perfect, and you’ve just got to move on from it as you get older.”

The Celtics will take on the Nets in the playoffs for the second consecutive year after Brooklyn defeated Cleveland in the play-in tournament. Brooklyn eliminated Boston in five games in the first round of the playoffs last season.