Jayson Tatum first began to bond with Kyrie Irving during his predaft process in 2017 and then spent two seasons as his teammate with the Boston Celtics. As Irving left the Celtics to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, he had a message for Tatum.

“Ky told me this is my time and to embrace that role and be that dude,” Tatum said.

Irving still keeps in touch with Tatum.

“Ky is like my big brother,” Tatum tells The Athletic. “We still talk to this day, and we’ve talked a few times this playoffs. He always encourages me to be special. Having that relationship with him and having somebody like him in my ear at a young age, it means a lot.

“You can steal from a lot of different guys — Ky, Kobe (Bryant) — but you have to do it your own way. I’m one of the youngest guys on this team but I know the role I have. I know how these guys view me and they value what I have to say. I want the best for everybody and I just want to win. I’ve been more outspoken this year.”