Understanding the long-running 'Jayson Tatum age' joke and the origin behind it 

Chicago Bulls v Boston Celtics
Chicago Bulls v Boston Celtics

Jayson Tatum's age coming into the NBA was nearly unbelievable because of the type of talent he was. The then 19-year-old showed the NBA that he was a major issue and was going to be a star for years to come.

He was a younger-looking kid, but the skill was there. Coming out of Duke University, the baby face was still there and fans ran with the joke.

During his rookie season, Celtics fans were shocked to learn that he was "only 19". The media was also in disbelief that Taum was that young and played the way he did. Tatum had the following to say:

"I've gained probably about 10 pounds, so I think that's just obviously been in the weight room," Tatum told reporters Wednesday. "You know, getting older my body is starting to mature a little bit more. So I'm not 19 anymore."

Anthony Irwin asked Jayson Tatum how it felt to be 19 for this long. Tatum responded:

"You get used to it lol"

Tatum has been running with the joke and even at Jayson Tatum's age of 24, many still love to joke around with him about the situation.

Chicago Bulls v Boston Celtics
Chicago Bulls v Boston Celtics

Jayson Tatum’s age entering the NBA

Jayson Tatum entered the NBA at 19 years old. He spent one year at Duke University before leaving to enter the NBA Draft. Tatum was then drafted with the #3 overall pick.

Tatum was about the average age of most NBA Draft picks. Considering that players can leave after one season in the NBA, Tatum being 19 then is normal.

The story behind 'Jayson Tatum age' joke

The story started during Jayson Tatum's first game. He came into the league at 19 but turned 20 somewhat quickly after that. Celtics fans began by saying Jayson Tatum's age was only 19 because of how he played on the court.

Not many of the 19-year-olds that enter the league can do what Tatum was able to do. Fans were chanting it, posting it on social media, and doing many other hilarious things to point out the fact that he was 19.

Tatum knew it was happening as fans chanted it, but he never said much about the situation because no one ever really asked him about it. One day, media members asked and he let them know.

On top of how funny the original story is of Tatum being called 19 for most of his NBA career, he's also had fun with it.

In 2018, Tatum was 20, and he did a commercial with Foot Locker. The commercial showed a time capsule from the 1990s. Tatum was the perfect man for the job as he's just 19. Nike released the following about the commercial and what Tatum put on Twitter after that was hilarious.

“As one of the original destinations to get the best of Air in the 90s, Foot Locker and NIKE are still leading the pack together. NIKE athlete and NBA forward Jayson Tatum, to kick off the integrated campaign by ‘unearthing’ a time capsule filled with some of the most beloved items from the 90s, including a fresh pair of shoes from the NIKE Air Origins pack.”

Tatum responded with the Tweet of the century:

“90’s commercial … ‘he’s only 19’”

The 24-year-old Jayson Tatum has turned into one of the best players in the NBA. From joking about Jayson Tatum's age to playing in an NBA Finals just a few years later. The evolution of his game has continued to grow, just like his age.

Tatum has made All-NBA teams, All-Star Games, and countless other accolades in his young NBA career. His 2021-22 season was the most impressive of his career as he averaged 26.9 points, eight rebounds, and 4.4 assists.

The Boston Celtics star is the reason why the organization is in the position that they're currently in. That position is a team that has a legitimate chance of winning an NBA title. Even at this age, Tatum continues to show that he can take over a game.

Tatum is currently averaging 30.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.4 blocks in the first eight games of the 2022-23 season. Boston is one of the favorites to win an NBA championship this season behind their "19" year old superstar.

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Edited by Hans Themistode
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