How Jayson Tatum reportedly helped recruit Kemba Walker to Celtics

Gabby Guerard
July 18, 2019 - 11:39 am

It turns out that one Celtics player helped make Kemba Walker’s decision to come to Boston a little easier.

In late June, Jayson Tatum and Walker both spent time in Paris together, among other Jordan-branded athletes, at a company event before NBA free agency started. Then three days later, the Celtics emerged as a “stealth suitor” for Walker in free agency. Five days after that, Walker agreed to a four-year, $141 million maximum contract with Boston.

Back in Paris, Tatum had posted a picture with Walker to Instagram, and given the series of events that quickly followed with Walker, many wondered whether Tatum influenced Walker to come to the Celtics.

According to Walker’s interview with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan Wednesday, that’s exactly what happened.

“Me and Jayson actually spoke, we spoke for quite some time,” Walker said. “Jayson’s such a good guy, such a great player. For the most part, I like being around high-character guys with work ethic. Just guys who I can be around, be myself around. That’s kind of the vibe I got from JT when I was around him.”

“When we left Paris, as the days went on and free agency came and I made my decision, a lot was because of him,” he added.

Though, anyone who knows Tatum knows he’s not a flashy guy, and neither was his sales pitch. He didn’t even directly tell Walker to come to Boston.

“It was more so about the city, about the fans, the atmosphere, coach (Brad) Stevens and some of the players on the team, last year and how things went,” Walker said. “Just stuff like that. Not once did he say, ‘come.’ Not once.”

While there were other factors that also played into Walker’s decision to leave Charlotte and select Boston, Tatum certainly did his part in helping to recruit the NBA All-Star to suit up in green and white next season.