Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum believes becoming a father during his rookie NBA season helped get him to where he is today.

“It taught me a sense of responsibility,” he told reporters Sunday, according to The Associated Press. “Nobody can help you or prepare you for what it’s like to be 19 and have millions of dollars.”

Tatum added that his son continues to help him make good decisions.

It’s about “knowing that there’s a 6-year-old ‘mini me’ essentially watching everything that I do and knowing that I have to be the best version of myself. I have to make the right decisions, because he’s always watching,” he said.

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Jayson Tatum’s son

Tatum’s son, Jayson Tatum Jr., who is called “Deuce,” was born in December 2017, about six months after Tatum was picked third overall in the 2017 NBA draft by the Celtics.

Deuce’s mom is someone Tatum dated in college. They’re no longer together, according to The Associated Press.

Tatum told reporters Sunday, which was Father’s Day, that he’s been careful throughout Deuce’s life to prioritize spending time with his son.

“Whatever decision I wanted to make, I had to make sure that he was taken care of. I couldn’t just up and go or do everything that some of my peers were doing because I had to go home and put him to bed. ... Or I had to skip out on this trip with my friends because it was my weekend with him,” he said.

Tatum noted that he doesn’t consider those things sacrifices, but acknowledged that, before his son was born, he was worried that being a dad would hurt his career.

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“I’d be the first to say I wasn’t super-thrilled to find out I was going to be a dad, and quickly realized that it was the best thing that ever could have happened to me. There’s nothing better than being a dad,” he said, per The Associated Press.

Deuce regularly appears with his dad before and after games, including on the court during warm-ups.

Boston Celtics in the Finals

Tatum and the Celtics are one win away from claiming the 2024 NBA championship. They’re up 3-1 in their Finals series against the Dallas Mavericks.

The Celtics and Mavericks next play on Monday night in Boston at 6:30 p.m. MDT. The game will air on ABC.

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