Jayson Tatum opened up on his personal life.
Tatum sat down for an interview on “In Depth with Graham Bensinger” and was asked to relive the circumstances in which he found out that his girlfriend Toriah Lachell was pregnant shortly before he was set to be a top prospect in the 2017 NBA Draft.
“I got sick to my stomach, because this was a week or two before school was ending, so in my mind I’m like I’m about to leave Duke, get ready for my Draft, live my life — have a blast . And then it’s like, ‘No, you ’bout to have a kid,'” Tatum said.
“I was selfish at first, honestly. I was more worried about getting drafted than I was about being a dad, because my whole life I had dreamed about going to the NBA and the best day of my life was two months away. I didn’t tell anybody – I didn’t tell my teammates, the coaches, anything…”
Now, Jayson Tatum Jr., also known as Deuce, is five years old, and Tatum refers to his son as his “twin” on Instagram. But before the baby’s arrival, Tatum was anxious.
Asked about being “concerned” about sharing news of the pregnancy with the organization, Tatum continued to talk about his tunnel vision.
“I didn’t want it to impact where I got drafted,” he said. “I thought that if teams knew I was about to have a kid, they were gonna think I wasn’t focused and that they wouldn’t pick me – so I was terrified. I didn’t want anybody to know, which was extremely selfish. So I remember, I told Brad Stevens. I remember we were on the plane and one of the trainers knew. He was like, ‘Have you told Brad yet? … isn’t she due next week? You might miss a game.’ I’m like, ‘Oh s–t.’”
Tatum said that Stevens was very supportive and that having his son helped speed up the process of growing up.
The Celtics’ star also talked about tough love he got from his own father when he was young.
“I was scared of him, and he would grab me by my shirt and pin me up against the wall, and cuss me out in front of everybody, and I would be bawling … He called me on my name,” Tatum said.
“But then I would come out at halftime and I would outscore the rest of the team and we would win. So in his mind, he needed to push my buttons to get me to a certain point… I felt like he did n’t like me as a kid, because he was so mean to me. Of course he did, but as a kid, I couldn’t separate coach and dad – there was just one. He would always tell me I was soft, I wasn’t gonna make it, I wasn’t gonna be nothing, and he would take it to the extreme. But part of me working out at 5:30 in the morning was because I wanted to prove him wrong.”