Can Jayson Tatum be the face of the NBA? | Good Word with Goodwill

Yahoo Sports' senior NBA writer Vincent Goodwill and NBA analyst Krysten Peek discuss the Boston Celtics star’s desire to be the best player in the game and what Tatum has to do to get there. Subscribe to “Good Word with Goodwill” - part of the “Ball Don’t Lie” podcast - on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen.

Video Transcript


VINCENT GOODWILL: KP, Jayson Tatum said something really interesting at all-star. He says that he wants to be the face of the league, and he believes he can be the best player in the game. Is that crazy talk? Or is that something we should be looking at and giving serious scrutiny to?

KRYSTEN PEEK: I mean, look, I don't think it's that crazy. I know a lot of people might be like, eh. But when you look at LeBron and how much more time he has, Steph and KD, those guys aren't far behind him. So it's looking at what's next, what's next. Jayson Tatum is on one of the best teams in the NBA, the Boston Celtics. He is the leader of that team. He's productive every single night. I think he could, down the road, become the face of the NBA.

Now, we also have to look at the international prospects coming up. Victor Wembanyama, obviously, will have a few more years. They're still in rebuild mode with the San Antonio Spurs. But when we're looking at that guard position, that next big guard to come up and lead the NBA, I don't think it's that crazy to see it.

VINCENT GOODWILL: Well, it's crazy because we still act like Jayson Tatum is 19.


VINCENT GOODWILL: I feel like-- I feel like he's like a child actor who just never grew up. He profiles, Krysten, as a potential face of the league. He's with a legacy franchise. He came out of a legacy school. It just seems like there's something missing. Maybe it's an NBA title. Maybe it's that extra sort of gear of athleticism.

But KP, the one thing I will say, part of being a face of the league, or one of the faces of the league, is simply wanting to be, is simply being available, is simply putting yourself out there in that way. It's not going to be just doing things with [INAUDIBLE]. All that's well and good. But I think you're going to have to open up your personality a little bit more. And he's going to have to actually win something.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Yes. Yes, I think you're absolutely right. And I think we also need to remember, Vinny, this didn't happen overnight for LeBron. It kind of took a few years. I think it took that first championship.

I don't know what more you want from him, Vinny, in terms of being the face of the Celtics. He's averaging nearly 30 points a game the last two seasons. When the shot clock is winding down, when the game is on the line, the ball is in his hands, and he delivers, he's clutch. And so I think what they're missing is that championship. And if he can get over that, the sky's the limit.

VINCENT GOODWILL: I think the one thing we forget now, Nike's no longer doing the NBA's marketing for them. Remember all the great commercials that guys used to have? And that contributed to someone becoming the face of the league because we saw their faces everywhere on those traditional marketing ads and magazines and posters and everything else.

You don't see that presence being as present as it used to be. And yes, you got to win something. And also, y'all, in a world where Nikola Jokic exists, ain't nobody else going to be the best player.