All-Star Weekend a Cherished Tradition for the Tatum Tandem

All-Star Weekend is a package deal for the Tatum family.

You don’t get Jayson Sr. without Jayson Jr. – aka “Deuce.”

The father-son duo has become an ASW fixture over the past five years, dating all the way back to Jayson’s first season when he brought two-month-old Deuce out to Los Angeles and competed in the Rising Stars Challenge.

The following year in Charlotte, Jayson participated in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge. After winning the event, he hoisted his trophy in one arm and his son in the other.

In his third season, Jayson was selected to his first All-Star Game, and Deuce was there in Chicago to support him.

Jayson returned as a All-Star starter last year in Indianapolis and will be starting again Sunday night in Cleveland, where his son will be with him once again.

It’s not unusual for NBA stars to bring their children along to experience the weekend’s festivities, but having Deuce by his side since the beginning makes Jayson’s situation unique.

Jayson and Deuce were both born into a new stage of their lives at roughly the same time – Jayson into the NBA on Oct. 17, 2017, and Deuce into the world on Dec. 7, 2017.

One’s rookie year in the league coincided with the other’s rookie year on Earth, and they have been developing side-by-side ever since.

“I think that’s the plus of having a kid at 19: we’re growing up together,” Tatum said Saturday afternoon during a pre-All-Star Game press conference in Cleveland. “I think it’s cool that he’s going to be able to see me as my career goes and, as he’s getting older now, to remember certain things and interact and things like that.”

In some ways, Deuce has become just as big of a star as his father. The four-year-old attends most Celtics home games, where he sits courtside with his grandmother, shining in the spotlight. After games, opposing players often want to meet the endearing toddler and grab a photo with him. And at All-Star weekend, Deuce gets to play around with some of the greatest hoopers of all time.

The amount of attention Deuce gets is something that Jayson says he “definitely did not expect.”

“But it’s cool and he enjoys it. Every time he comes to a home game, people cheer when they see him and scream his name. And when he comes to the games on the road and here at All-Star, he has his own personality.”

Although Deuce may not be at an age where he can fully grasp the game of basketball or understand how great of a player his father is, he’ll eventually see how great of a role model Jayson is trying to be for him.

“Every time he comes to the game, he sees how I give it my all, doing everything I can in my power to help us win,” Jayson said. “Because as he gets older, in team sports, that’s what’s most important is winning, and everything else besides that will follow.”

For now, wins and losses don’t matter to Deuce. He spends a good chunk of Celtics games zoned into the marvels of his iPad undeterred, even when Celtics fans are rising to their feet around him, cheering on Jayson as he knocks down clutch baskets.

Though, there are certain instances that will pull the youngster away from his virtual adventures, such as during a recent Celtics-Nuggets matchup when Jayson took a hard fall a few feet away from Deuce after running at full force into Nikola Jokic. A concerned Deuce rose to his feet to make sure his dad was OK (he was fine), and he may have given the 7-foot reigning MVP a menacing glare.

Don’t tell Jayson, but Deuce’s favorite part of the game is probably when it’s over. That’s when he gets to scamper onto the court and jump into his dad’s arms, sharing a comforting embrace that overrides the emotions of whatever result just occurred on the court.

Jayson and Deuce cherish those moments more and more as they grow older. And even though All-Star Weekend is often a time for players to get away and take a break, it’s a time for the father-son duo to grow closer in their bond.

The Tatum Tandem has been a package deal at All-Star Weekend since Jayson’s rookie year in the league and Deuce’s rookie year in the world, and they will carry that tradition on for as long as possible.


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