SALT LAKE CITY — Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum has experienced hostile environments before, and he has even experienced environments where the hostility was directed at one player in particular.
Ironically, that player was on the opposing bench on Friday, when the Boston Celtics took on the Utah Jazz: Tatum’s former Duke teammate Grayson Allen.
On Friday, Allen was an afterthought. All of the vitriol was directed at Celtics wing Gordon Hayward, who finished with 13 points. Hayward, of course, left the Jazz in free agency in the summer of 2017 to join the Celtics. Utah fans certainly hadn’t forgotten.
“When I played in college, everybody used to boo Grayson,” Tatum said. “So I’m used to it.”
Allen was generally disliked by college basketball fans, many of whom believed he was a dirty player. A first-round selection by the Jazz, Allen is averaging 11.3 minutes per game so far.
Hayward’s reception in Utah probably outstripped Allen’s in various college arenas, even against the noisiest college fans. Jazz fans booed Hayward from shootaround to layup lines to the starting lineups to the final buzzer.
Still, Tatum felt the experiences were similar.
“That’s what it kind of felt like, when they would do that,” Tatum said. “But he was fine.”
Fair, but did ACC crowds ever boo Allen every time he touched the ball in the layup lines?
Tatum paused and raised his eyebrows.
“They used to boo Grayson a lot,” he said. “But Grayson didn’t mind. It didn’t bother (Gordon). You just have to laugh it off.”