Star Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum has long had a close relationship with his trainer Drew Hanlen of Pure Sweat fame, and when the St. Louis native found his Celtics squad sent fishing in Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Finals at the hands of the Golden State Warriors, one of the first people Tatum heard from was his trainer.
Hanlen made a point of reaching out to the Duke alum after the soul-crushing loss — but more out of preparation for the campaign to come than out of pity, according to the man himself in a recent interview with Basketball News’ Alex Kennedy.
“The first text message I sent to him was, ‘Hey, you’re going to be back. And you’re going to be better because of this,’” shared Hanlen.
The popular NBA trainer shared that the unorthodox nature of Tatum’s schedule with regard to basketball over the last few seasons has made training in the offseason difficult.
“When we look at the last couple of years, he hasn’t really had offseasons as much,” offered Hanlen.
“The one year, they go in the Bubble and they go all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals; we had like two weeks that offseason and then he goes and plays and he starts off really slow,” he added.
“Then, (next summer), he goes to play with USA Basketball and wins a gold medal; we have a couple-week offseason and he starts really slow. This year, we finally had a full offseason so that he can start the season strong instead of kind of working his way in.”
Tatum’s focus this past offseason has been “driving through contact, playing through fouls, and finishing at the rim,” per Kennedy, and we’ve been seeing the results on the court with the leap the Chaminade alum has made to put himself close to the top of the 2023 MVP conversation.
For Hanlen, Tatum getting his due is only a matter of time, even when he was in the midst of watching his collapse in the 2022 Finals.
After the loss, Hanlen says he spent “an hour of my time screen-shotting all these notable analysts or notable people with big followings that were criticizing, hating, and doubting Jayson, and I put them all in a folder.”
“I cannot wait to arrogantly send them out when he finally holds up a championship trophy,” he said, we imagine with quite the wry grin.
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