Jayson Tatum May 29, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) reacts in the first quarter against the Miami Heat during game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals for the 2023 NBA playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets and the Miami Heat are squaring off in the 2023 NBA Finals. Both have battled some real adversity to make it to this point. Fomer NFL player Mark Schlereth believes this is why they ultimately made it to this position.

Schlereth spoke about the upcoming NBA finals on the Awful Announcing Podcast, where he credited the mental toughness of the Nuggets and Heat throughout the postseason.

“I’ll tell ya I just texted Michael Malone, he is a buddy of mine,” Schlereth told AA’s Brandon Contes. “As skilled as Nikola Jokić, Jamal Murray, and the rest of those guys are, I love their mental toughness. There is no coincidence in my mind that the two mentally toughest basketball teams are in the NBA Finals.”

Schlereth went on to get brutally honest about the NBA as a whole, calling most players “soft” including Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum among others.

“Especially in the NBA, where guys are soft as whale poop and guys are drama, I looked at Jayson Tatum and I’m sure that ankle really hurts, I get it. But don’t be a drama queen about it. I expected him to come out in a clown shoe taped up. If you can’t play on it, just get out or just play well. My rule is you gotta play hurt and you gotta play injured, but you gotta play well hurt and play well injured. And if you can’t, then get out. If you aren’t tough enough to play well injured then get out”

He later acknowledged that he is very unapologetic in his opinion and it is one that most probably won’t agree with. It is very much an opinion of the old-school football mindset that most people likely don’t agree with nowadays.

However, he is certainly correct that Tatum being on the court in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals was probably more of a negative for the Celtics than a positive. He shot just 5-13 after rolling his ankle early in the first quarter and was largely a liability on defense for most of the game.

About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.