Celtics’ Jayson Tatum talks about his offseason, weathering the NBA rumor cycle, and his prep for 2022-23

Star Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum has been keeping pretty busy for a time of the NBA calendar that usually sees players wind down their activity level, with the St. Louis native holding a pro camp, stopping by a Showtime series grand premiere, and more.

But Tatum took some time out of his offseason schedule to talk about his new partnership with Gatorade, the “Beat the Heat” program to tell us what it is all about, as well as to share some updates on the tireless NBA rumor mill, what he’s working on in anticipation of another run at a title, and several other topics on the latest episode of the Celtics Lab podcast.

So with all that said, let’s check in with the Duke product while we wait for Boston’s 2022 training camp to arrive (note: this interview has been lightly edited for clarity).

Jayson Tatum “Beat the Heat” Camp on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, in St. Louis, MO.

Celtics Wire: So, I guess we’ll just jump right into it can you tell us a little bit about the Gatorade “Beat the Heat” program? I’m pretty sure it’s not about your friend Bam Adebayo since that’s already happened.

Jayson Tatum: Yeah, we did beat the Heat. But, summertime — offseason workouts; Beat the Heat; it’s hot outside. You want ot stay hydrated, especially with electrolytes. And I think that’s part of, as an athlete, what I do. Whenever I’m not hydrated, I’m not able to perform at the highest level. I definitely need that to be the athlete I want to be.

Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

CW: So I’m an anthropologist, and here in Mexico, I did my research here and followed the railroad lines a lot on foot, so I really know the importance of hydration, but maybe you can give us a better picture for what it’s like for an athlete, why it’s important to stay hydrated.

JT: Just think about when you see your favorite basketball player and how much we sweat, how much water we lose throughout the workout or throughout the game. You have to refuel. And that is at the top priority as much as it is making a jump shot. Because if I’m not hydrated, I can’t perform or I don’t feel like myself, then I can’t be the player my team needs me to be out there on the floor.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

CW: I definitely remember some issues with Lebron playing the Celtics in 2012 where he actually had to come out of the game because of cramping due to a lack of hydration. I’m a University of Florida alum, so I’m aware of how important it was for their scientists to get the right chemistry for Gatorade. You’ve recently spoken about the importance of chemistry to winning in the NBA. I’m curious how you think the additions of Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari complement the chemistry you already had that got you within two games of an NBA title.

JT: Two veteran guys that have accomplished a lot in this league, and that are coming to a situation where they are trying to add to a really, really good team, and they do make us better, they make us a lot better to hopefully get us over that hump to be a championship team, two guys that really know how to play the right way that truly just want to win at any cost.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

CW: Another thing dealing with chemistry in the offseason is rumors, and I’m not going to ask you specifically about any of them. But I’m curious because I’ve been seeing a lot of people suggesting that it’s a compliment to see somebody’s name in a trade rumor — how do you feel if you ever see your name in a trade rumor? Is that something you think of as a compliment? Does it ever get annoying? How do you deal with that?

JT: That’s the world we live in, right? It always comes from an anonymous source. But it always makes ESPN or Twitter or whatever, and everybody sees it. So you never know what is true and what’s not true, but it gets people to talk about it, and I guess that’s the idea. They got what they wanted out of the deal,  for people to talk about it and make speculations. If you pay attention to everything you see on Twitter or TV, you drive yourself crazy. I think that’s just something that you have to learn just to keep your own sanity and your own peace. They will literally say anything, and some of it might be true, and there are other things that just couldn’t be further from the truth. But, the average fan at home doesn’t know the difference, and they just might believe whatever they see. And it doesn’t help that people on the sports talk shows are talking about it every day and we don’t know who said it, so just control what you can control. That’s what I always live by.

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

CW: That’s a healthy attitude. And on the topic of health, you guys have been playing a lot of basketball and you in particular all the way back to the Olympics. What are you doing this offseason to recharge yourself? Is there anything different this season than you’ve done in past seasons because of how long you’ve been playing? Or is this just a typical offseason?

JT: This is a shorter offseason; we played a lot longer. So you’ve got to always take the proper amount of time off to recharge, and give your body some rest, give your mind some rest, enjoy time with your family, go on vacation, and things like that. Then, when it’s time to get back in the gym and get your body right, start eating right, change your diet, whatever you feel is necessary to prepare you for next season. Each offseason is a little different.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

CW: That actually leads really well into my next question, which is what are you working on this offseason? What do you plan on working on if you haven’t started yet?

JT: Always first and foremost taking care of my body, in the weight room working on my legs and making sure my core (is good), changing my diet, trying to eat better. The basketball stuff is easier to figure out, I’ve been doing it so long. I think your body is what keeps you up here.

(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

CW: How’s the shoulder injury from the Finals doing? Feeling any better?

JT: Yeah, it feels a lot better, it got a lot of time to rest that it needed. So, it definitely felt a lot better.

CW: I need to ask you about my favorite basketball player of all time who recently passed; I saw you paid him some homage on Twitter pretty recently — the late great Bill Russell. I’m curious how he might have touched your life, whether you got to know him at all. What do you think of him, and of what he did on and off the court?

JT: I think I gained much more respect and knowledge of the kind of person he was and the things that he accomplished and what he meant to this country, what he meant to the Celtics, what he meant to the game of basketball. Once I finally got to the NBA, I got with the Celtics and learned a lot about him. I’m younger, I didn’t necessarily get to see him play — that wasn’t my generation. I want to celebrate all the things that he accomplished, and what he meant to so many people in this world.

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

CW: If I was going to try either St. Louis bagels or St. Louis pizza, what should I be going after first?

JT: St. Louis pizza for sure.

CW: Why is that?

JT: Because it’s unique, thin sliced, sweet marinara sauce and we got Provel Cheese. little bite-sized pieces in a square. I’m biased; I think we have the best pizza in the country.

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

CW: Last but not least, what’s the best flavor Gatorade that you plan on dumping on Ime Udoka when you win the 2023 Finals?

JT: Riptide Rush — that’s my go-to.

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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire