BOSTON (CBS) — Jayson Tatum is still acclimating to life in Tokyo, as he and the US Men’s National Team gets ready for the Olympic games to tip off on Sunday. Going from Boston to Las Vegas to Tokyo over the last month has wreaked havoc on his sleep schedule, but the honor of playing in the Olympics isn’t lost on the Celtics star.
Given all that Tatum — and everyone else for that matter — has gone through over the last two years, he’s learned a very important life lesson.READ MORE: Astros Have To Hope Zack Greinke Can Pull Off A Miracle Vs. Red Sox In Game 4
“I’ve learned to not take things for granted. The climate of the last year and a half, realizing that everything isn’t promised and you never know what could or couldn’t happen,” Tatum told reporters Thursday morning from Tokyo. “So I’m staying in the moment and enjoying this journey and this process. Being 23 and being in the Olympics, it’s an honor and a dream come true.”
Tatum and Team USA’s quest for gold begins Sunday morning at 8 a.m. ET against France. It will pit Tatum against Evan Fournier, his Celtics teammate last season, and former Boston players Guerschon Yabusele and Vincent Poirier.READ MORE: Rowdy Red Sox Fans Disrupt FS1 Postgame Show With A-Rod, David Ortiz At Fenway Park
“All three of those guys, they’re still my teammates. Loved playing with them, especially Guerschon,” said Tataum. “I guess I’ll be happy to see them Sunday, but we won’t be friends out there when the game starts.”
Tatum struggled with his shot during exhibition play in Las Vegas, but found a way to contribute everywhere else in the USMNT’s final tune-up against Argentina, pulling down six rebounds while dishing out five assists. He also played some solid defense during the exhibition slate, and is willing to do whatever he needs to do in order to help Team USA win a gold medal.MORE NEWS: History Now Strongly Favors Red Sox To Beat Astros, Advance To World Series
“When your shot isn’t falling and you’re going to be on the floor a lot, you have to make sure you’re doing the other things; rebounding, defending, pushing it up the floor, getting guys involved,” he said. “The only thing that matters is that we win the gold medal, not how many points you score. Just do everything that contributes to winning.”