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Tatum: 'They can't debate' that I've won a championship

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Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum says that winning a title put an end to one of the debates surrounding him.

"There's still a lot of things I guess they can debate. But now I've done something that they can't debate: I've won a championship," Tatum said, according to ESPN's Tim Bontemps. "Having that under my belt, like obviously it's still conversations to be had or whatever people want to say, but they always got to refer to me as an NBA champion."

The five-time All-Star said that winning a championship in June "100%" lifted a weight off his shoulders.

"Just being the topic of discussion of so many debates or whatever it is ... 'Can he lead a team? Is he a top-five player?'" Tatum said.

Over the course of the playoffs, the 26-year-old was pitted against co-star Jaylen Brown regarding which of the two is the Celtics' best player. Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd called Brown the team's top option, later refuting questions about playing mind games with the comments.

Brown won both the Larry Bird and Bill Russell trophies, given to the top player in the Eastern Conference finals and NBA Finals, respectively. Tatum led the team in total points, rebounds, and assists.

The Duke product said after winning the championship that "it was worth" listening to all the criticism. The Celtics have made the postseason every year Tatum and Brown have played together, including six trips to the conference finals and a Finals defeat in 2022.

Tatum was rewarded after the playoffs with the largest contract in NBA history, inking a reported five-year, $314-million deal.

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