NBA Finals: What a championship would mean for Tatum and Doncic's legacies

Dallas Mavericks v Boston Celtics
Dallas Mavericks v Boston Celtics / Winslow Townson/GettyImages
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What a championship would mean for Jayson Tatum

"He's only 19!" Those never ending jokes we see on social media for the Celtics star forward since he had his "arrival" moment in the NBA when he dunked on LeBron James as a young thoroughbred rookie in Game 7 of the 2018 Conference Finals.

Since then Tatum has proven why he was touted out of Duke as the No.3 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by becoming the main catalyst for the Celtics by his third season and helping them reach the Conference Finals a total of four more times (2020, 2022, 2023, 2024) and two NBA Finals appearances (2022, 2024) in his career.

His accolades are as follows:

- 5x All-Star

- All-Star MVP (2023)

- 3x All-NBA First Team (2022-2024)

-All-NBA Third Team (2020)

- All-Rookie Team (2018)

Despite the relentless criticism Tatum gets from the media; at times overboard as if he's never made deep playoff runs or as if he's never had signature moments in big playoff games like he's a la James Harden.

Whether it's the 51-point classic against the Sixers in a win or go home Game 7 Semifinal matchup, or the Game 6 46-point outing in 2022 against the then reigning defending champion Milwaukee Bucks down 3-2 to force a Game 7 which they would defeat the Miami Heat and eventually mke the Finals that season.

After losing in the Finals already in 2022 to Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors, while also failing to get back last year, it's time to get over the hump and bring one to TD Garden.

Throughout NBA history, every great player (aside from Magic Johnson) has gone through a phase of growing pains trying to win that first title. All year, we've heard how good the Celtics are, with new additions Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis as major X-factors in their success.

But now it's time for Tatum to pull through as "the guy" on the team and propel them to the title. If he does, he puts his name among the Celtic royalty of all the Celtics greats who have brought a championship or multiple titles to the city, including Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Sam Jones, Larry Bird, John Havlicek, Dave Cowens, Paul Pierce, Kevin McHale, Kevin Garnett, and Robert Parish, to name a few.

Tatum looks to put his name on that prestigious list, as he also recently became just the fifth player in NBA history (after LeBron, Tim Duncan, Nikola Jokic, and Jason Kidd) to lead the team in PTS, REBS, and ASTS while leading them to the Finals.

Winning a title will not only solidify Tatum as a Celtics great but will also separate him from other young stars in his generation, from Oklahoma City Thunder Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to Minnesota Timberwolves ascending star Anthony Edwards, to name a few who seem on the verge of eclipsing Tatum.

A title separates you, point blank, period. LeBron, KD, Steph, Giannis, and Jokic are in a different class from the rest of the stars in the league because they have won titles as guys. Tatum looks forward to adding his name next.