Tatum proud to wear Kobe Bryant’s number for Team USA

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Boston’s Jayson Tatum has been drawing Kobe Bryant comparisons seemingly every season the Celtic has been in the NBA. You can see pieces of the late Lakers legend in Tatum’s silky-smooth pull-up jumper, his array of stepbacks and turnarounds in the midrange, his fearlessness in taking big shots in the biggest moments from a young age. Tatum even worked out in the offseason after his rookie year with Bryant, an experience in which he recalled feeling “like a kid in a candy store.”

Now, in this year’s Olympic run with Team USA, Tatum will be linked to Bryant in one more obvious way – donning a No. 10 jersey.

The same jersey that Bryant wore for his stints with USA Basketball.

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Tatum has worn the number before, as reported in an article by Tim Reynolds of AP News. He took up the No. 10 jersey at the Basketball World Cup two years ago. But given Bryant's recent death in a January 2020 helicopter crash, Tatum seems to be placing a higher significance on the mantle. “With this being the first Olympics since we lost (Bryant), it holds that much more value,” Tatum said in the AP News article. “It’s not something I take lightly.” https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1412844159673815043?s=20

"It's a tremendous honor," he continued. "And I'll wear it proudly." Team USA coach Gregg Popovich, who coached Tatum in his previous USA Basketball stint, noted the Celtics star had improved greatly since his last international play. "He's become more of a two-way player," Popovich told reporters Tuesday. "He's way more confident ... he's, on top of that, more aggressive and knows he can dominate people." https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1412821210900144130?s=20

The USA Basketball roster will feature Eastern Conference stars such as the Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo, Washington Wizards' Bradley Beal, Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant, Detroit Pistons' Jerami Grant, Milwaukee Bucks' Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton, Chicago Bulls' Zach LaVine, and Cleveland Cavaliers' Kevin Love alongside Tatum. It will also have Western Conference standouts like the Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker, Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green, and Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard. This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook! [lawrence-related id=53472,53469,53462,53456] [listicle id=53333]

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