More NBA stars need to be like Jayson Tatum.

Mar 17, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) reacts

The NBA has a load management problem. Completely healthy players are sitting games out to get more rest. It’s an issue that has only gotten worse as years have gone by, and fans are rightfully outraged.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver implemented a rule this past offseason saying that players must appear in at least 65 games to be eligible for awards. He had hoped this would mitigate the issue, but players continue to sit games out for rest purposes.

Fortunately, not every NBA star chooses to miss games for load management reasons. Boston Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum is one player who takes pride in appearing in every game that he possibly can, and he explained why on Sunday.

More NBA stars need to be like Jayson Tatum

Tatum is one of the best players in the NBA, averaging 27.1 points per game on 47.4/37.9/82.9 splits to go along with 8.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game for a Celtics team that not only has the best record in the NBA but looks like favorites to win the NBA Championship. He’s a five-time All-Star and has made three All-NBA teams. He’s certain to make a fourth this season as the next game he plays will be his 65th of the campaign.

Tatum’s Celtics are just about locked into getting the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference as they sit 9.5 games up on second place Cleveland with 15 games to play. Tatum in particular has missed just three games this season, which has obviously helped Boston go 53-14 overall.

Sunday’s game saw the Celtics play in Washington against a Wizards team that has an 11-57 record, the worst not only in the Eastern Conference but in the NBA as a whole. You’d think that’d be the perfect “load management” game for a player like Tatum, but he still played. He played just 26 minutes as the Celtics won by 26 points, but still put up 30 points, six rebounds, and six assists.

The reason Tatum played on Sunday and whenever he can is quite simple. He does it for the fans. He knows he’s one of the best and most popular players in the NBA, and fans pay their hard-earned money to attend games he’s supposed to play in. Sitting out a game due to injury is out of his control, but sitting out a game for rest purposes is not an option in Tatum’s mind, especially on the road.

While that might sound crazy, sitting out on the road is worse than at home. At home, fans can still come to see him 41 times each season. On the road, Tatum only goes to certain cities once or twice at most. Fans who wanted to see him play who don’t live in Boston might not be able to at all that season if he chose to sit out a certain game.

It’s good to see Tatum showing that he genuinely cares about the fans not only who come to watch him play in Boston, but fans who see him all over the country. All we can hope is that other stars develop this same mentality.