Jayson Tatum spent a lot of time with a Celtics legend this summer, and he really enjoyed the experience.
Tatum hung out with Hall of Fame forward Paul Pierce for about a month. They worked out together, talked about what it takes to become an NBA champion and much more.
Tatum explained Monday at Celtics Media Day what it was like spending time with Pierce and how it benefitted him on and off the court.
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"It was great. I spent every day with Paul for like 3.5 to four weeks," Tatum said. "He would come in the gym every morning, and he would work out with me in the weight room. He would follow us to the gym while I worked out with my trainer Drew (Hanlen), and he would watch. It was just cool to have him around.
"Even he started to get motivated. He lost like 15-18 pounds while he was out there. You could tell it was motivation for him, and he felt younger. It was an honor for us to have him around. He, in a sense, became one of the guys. It was great to have him around. He told stories. I asked questions. It was a big part of the summer, and I look forward to him coming to training camp and stuff like that and seeing him more often."
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What really stood out to Tatum from all the advice and wisdom shared by Pierce?
"I think just all the things he took away from his championship team in 2008, and how close you have to be as a unit," Tatum said. "And how you need other guys to feel right and important, which they are, but just how you need everyone on the team to help win a championship.
"Because one series might have an X-factor that's different from the next series. But they all add up. All the stories he was telling me and team meetings and things they did off the court, and all the things that made that '08 group so special."
Pierce's point about needing everyone is important. You really never know when you're going to need someone to play a bigger role than normal in a playoff game or series. And if your teammates aren't ready or don't feel fully part of the group, it's harder for them to step up when called upon.
The 2008 team had so many examples of role players rising to the occasions in key moments.
No one could have expected P.J. Brown scoring 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting with six rebounds in 20 minutes during Game 7 of the 2008 Eastern Conference semifinals against LeBron James' Cavaliers. Kendrick Perkins scored a playoff career-high 18 points with 16 rebounds in a pivotal Game 5 win over the Detroit Pistons in the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals. Leon Powe was called on during Game 2 of the 2008 NBA Finals and responded with 21 points off the bench in a win over Kobe Bryant's Lakers. James Posey scored 18 points (including a couple clutch 3s in the fourth quarter) during the Celtics' historic Game 4 comeback against the Lakers in the 2008 Finals.
Everyone needs to feel included and have a defined role, and it's on Tatum, as one of the team's primary leaders with Jaylen Brown and others, to bring all of his teammates together.
Check out more of NBC Sports Boston's Media Day coverage here or watch on YouTube below.