It was a friendly competition between two former college stars, who are both on the verge of stardom in the NBA. One former Duke player and one former Kentucky player.
Jayson Tatum couldn’t have asked for a better rookie season.
Starting for the Boston Celtics as a rookie, on the second best team in the Eastern Conference, and in the playoffs.
The star rookie was only one year removed from Duke and two years removed from his high school playing days where he was awarded the Gatorade Player of the Year Award.
Two years before Tatum received the award, a big man out of St. Joseph’s Metuchen High School in New Jersey received the award, Karl Anthony Towns.
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Towns went onto be a star at Kentucky and the eventual No. 1 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Towns was not as lucky as Tatum, as he was drafted by the rebuilding Minnesota Timberwolves and did not make the playoffs until his third season in the NBA.
As a fun and friendly competition for both players making the playoffs for the first time this season, Gatorade pinned Tatum and Towns against each other in the First Round of the NBA Playoffs.
Whoever achieved the highest combined points, rebounds, and assists in the First Round, Gatorade would donate $20,000 to a Gatorade Play it Foward charity of their choice.
It was Tatum who got off to the fast start, leading Towns 47-37 after two games of their respective series.
Towns picked up his game in Games 3, 4, and 5 against the Houston Rockets, but the Timberwolves fell in five games to the Rockets.
Over the five games, Towns had 76 points, 67 rebounds, and 8 assists, bringing him to a total of 151.
Tatum and the Celtics had a longer series than the Timberwolves, as they took the Milwaukee Bucks to seven games.
Over the seven games, Tatum had 108 points, 37 rebounds, and 22 assists, giving him a total of 167, however, the competition ended once Towns and the Timberwolves were eliminated.
In five games against the Bucks, Tatum totaled 108 points, rebounds, and assists.
However, Gatorade has decided to donate $20,000 to both of Tatum’s and Towns’ charities.
A friendly competition that looked like it would only have one winner, tuned into a great cause that ended with both charities benefitting from the hard work of both players.
Both Karl Towns and Jayson Tatum look to have long and promising careers ahead of them, so hopefully, in the future, there will be more of these competitions for great causes.