Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum is coming off one of the best years in his career. His team fell just two games short of winning the NBA Finals despite having a 2-1 lead. Nonetheless, this has made him a center of attention this offseason. Tatum revealed that he does not have Damian Lillard on the same level as Kevin Durant or LeBron James.
There is obviously more context to the situation. Jayson was interviewed extensively by Taylor Rooks when he discussed opinions about stars and superstars in the NBA. We might use those terms carelessly or when caught in the heat of the moment. Therefore, it is important to understand the distinction he is trying to make.
Jayson Tatum doesn’t rank Damian Lillard in the same list as Kevin Durant and LeBron James
This was quite a friendly interview between both Taylor and Jayson and even had parts where he began asking her questions and challenging her stance. She claimed that superstar is a coveted term and that not more than 6 players in the league deserve to be called superstars. Tatum challenged this.
“Is Damian Lillard a superstar?… So championships matter… There are more than 6 superstars. Maybe… I don’t know 12, 14. Damian Lillard is a superstar“. Rooks went on to ask him to explain how there could be a distinction between players if that was the case.
“There could be superstars, and there are a few guys in the league now who are all-time greats so yeah there’s like a difference between KD, Bron, and Dame. Like, those are two of the greatest like top 10-12 players of all time. While Dame might not be top 15 top players of all time he was in the NBA top 75″.
He certainly makes a valid point. This is after all a grey subject as it is very difficult to define a superstar. Is winning an NBA title a must to be declared a superstar in the league? On that subject, both LeBron James and Kevin Durant were unable to win with the teams that drafted them and moved on to championship-level contending teams.
Dame has criticized this throughout his career. There are several superstars such as Steph Curry, Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant, and Giannis Antetokounmpo who have remained loyal to their teams. However, the true distinction between these players and Dame is that they all have won at least one or several titles throughout their careers.
King James and KD managed to carry their teams to the NBA finals at a very young age. This is something, Damian Lillard has not done. Therefore is he not a superstar? He has averaged 24.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 6.6 assists. He also shot 43% from the field and 37% from the three-point line. So we should decide for ourselves based on the numbers.