How Joe Mazzulla Used Batman to Help Jayson Tatum Handle Expectations and Pressure

Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum and head coach Joe Mazzulla.
Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum and head coach Joe Mazzulla. / Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
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Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla has become well-known for his love of movies. In January of 2023, he famously told Brian Scalabrine that he watches "The Town" four times per week.

With that being said, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Mazzulla uses themes of movies to motivate or teach his players.

During an appearance on "Pardon My Take," the Rhode Island native revealed that he showed Jayson Tatum a scene from "The Dark Knight" to help him work on "handling expectations and pressure."

“We’re watching the scene where Batman goes into the interrogation room with Joker… Batman goes ‘Why do you want to kill me?’ And the Joker starts laughing at him like ‘I don’t want to kill you, I need you. You complete me’… It was the coolest moment of good and evil have to coexist," Mazzulla told Big Cat and PFT Commenter. "Differences have to coexist in order to bring the best out of each other.”

Both Mazzulla and Tatum not only share a love for the caped crusader, but have also dealt with their fair shares of scrutiny over the past two seasons.

When Boston went crashing out of the Eastern Conference Finals last spring, people were calling for Joe's job, saying that he couldn't handle a head coaching position in the NBA.

As for Tatum, take your pick. Throughout the Celtics' run to Banner 18, the 26-year-old was undercut, criticized, and disrespected by several figures across the national media.

His coach's insight certainly helped him and his teammates achieve their ultimate goal of winning the franchise's 18th NBA Championship.

After their closeout win in Game 5, the players truly couldn't say enough good things about Mazzulla, including Derrick White who said Joe "changed his career."

Sam LaFrance