‘I wasn’t that [expletive] mad’: How Jayson Tatum reacted to ejection from win against Sixers


“I sat in my chair, I got some ice, I was not mad, I didn’t throw anything. I was just like it’s a joke. I had to laugh it off.”

Jayson Tatum Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Jayson Tatum said he was “extremely surprised” to be ejected from Boston’s 125-119 win against Philadelphia on Friday night at TD Garden.

Tatum was whistled for a loose ball foul with 1.1 seconds left in the third quarter. According to the NBA’s postgame pool report, Tatum was asked multiple times to head to the bench but continued to complain about the call. He whistled for his second technical foul tossed from the game after he continued to talk.

“I felt like I got fouled,” Tatum said. “I was just trying to have a conversation about that play. It was just kind of simple of that.”

Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said he told Tatum to smile and laugh it off. The coach said he didn’t mind seeing Tatum fired up.

“I actually like some of that. I think some of that is important,” Mazzulla said. “Obviously you don’t want it to get to where it gets in the way of winning, but I think that type of passion and caring about it, I’d err on the side of I’d rather see that then nothing at all. Sometimes you pick and choose your spots.’

Tatum said he didn’t swear at the refs. The pool report stated that he “overtly” gestured towards the officials.

“Did I cuss? No I didn’t. I didn’t say a cuss word. If you watch the clip you can probably read my lips. No hand gestures. Me and Bill [Kennedy] were having a conversation and the other two refs. Like I said, the refs do a have an effect on the game.

“They do have an effect on the outcome and I don’t agree with it,” Tatum added. “I’ve been in the league long enough and I’ve seen a lot worse behavior tolerated for a lot longer. So for those to throw me out the game, I was shocked. They always say get your money’s worth when you get fined for these techs and I definitely did not get my money’s worth.”

Tatum said he watched the rest of the game from elsewhere inside TD Garden after the ejection. He admitted that he was frustrated, but wanted to clarify his level of disappointment.

“Again, I wasn’t that [expletive] mad. Don’t put that narrative out there. I didn’t throw nothing. I said what I said. There were no magic words. Assistant coaches were right there. I don’t know, maybe they didn’t want me to play tonight. They were eager to get me out of there.

“I walked back calmly,” Tatum continued. “I sat in my chair, I got some ice, I was not mad, I didn’t throw anything. I was just like it’s a joke. I had to laugh it off. So no, I didn’t cry, I didn’t throw anything. I got ice and watched the rest of the game and watched us win.”

Tatum said he did not feel like an ejection was warranted for his behavior.

“I hate not being out there to help the team win. I hate it for all the people who came,” Tatum said. “Maybe it was some people’s first game to come see me play and they didn’t get to see me play the entire game. But, we still won, so there’s some positives that came out of tonight.”