Jayson Tatum, Joel Embiid And Costly All-NBA Team Snubs | Tatum’s Snub In 2021 Cost Him $32 Million

Jayson Tatum has had an excellent season, one that saw him set new career-high averages in points, assists, and rebounds per game. Tatum led his Celtics to the second seed in the air-tight Eastern Conference and could possibly capture his first ever NBA championship by the end of the playoffs. All of these feats have merited him a spot on the first-team All-NBA team.

Tatum averaged 27 points per game, eight rebounds per game, and 4.4 assists per game this season, and though Tatum made First-Team All-NBA this season, it would’ve come in handy if he was voted there last year, when he had almost identical numbers.

Jayson Tatum 2021 All-NBA Snub Cost Him $32.6 Million

The Celtics didn’t have nearly the postseason success they’ve had this year, but Tatum was undoubtedly one of the best players in the league in 2021 However, due to his snubbing, Tatum missed out on a potential $32.6M incentive that would have triggered. 



Though he was snubbed for All-NBA last year, he did make All-NBA in 2020. But unfortunately, that selection didn’t have much implication on his rookie contract. According to The Athletic, Tatum always maintains that he wasn’t bothered by missing out on the money, but it’s hard for anyone to sit back and not be upset about losing $32 million simply because you weren’t as popular with the voters.

“What’s the saying? A day late and a dollar short,” Tatum said Wednesday in Miami following the Celtics’ shootaround ahead of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Heat. “It wasn’t really being incentivized by the money (last year). I just kind of felt disrespected.

“I’m just thankful (this season). First-team All-NBA, that’s a big deal, so I am grateful for that.”

Sports Media Votes On Popularity

One of the situations in sports that are rarely discussed are the All-NBA disputes and how that can affect contracts and potential extra money for players. With a league like the NBA being a business-first type of league, it is imperative that players get their money when they can.

In sports, one minute you can be one of the best players in the world, and the next your career could be over due to unforeseen injuries or other circumstances. Being able to support yourself and your family financially is always at the forefront of player’s minds.

All-NBA teams are totally subjective. The winners are selected by various members of the sports media who vote on yearly awards such as MVP, Sixth Man of the Year, DPOTY, etc. So, with the media being in charge of who receives awards and All-NBA teams, they’re directly affecting a player’s money and their contractual incentives. 

Thats a lot of power for one group of media to wield. While Tatum is one of the main victims of the All-NBA snub last year, Joel Embiid is one this year. The guy who finished second in MVP voting behind Nikola Jokic couldn’t even be voted to the first team, because they had voted Jokic in at center and couldn’t vote two centers into one team.


Tatum also took note of that as well when speaking with the Athletic, and he offered up some suggestions for fixing the voting process by loosening the position requirements. 

Tatum Wants Voting Rules For All-NBA Revamped

“I do think it should be positionless,” Tatum said. “Joel Embiid was second in MVP voting and he made second team? It doesn’t really make too much sense.”

“Tatum also said there should be a minimum number of games played and perhaps a requirement that teams make the playoffs for players to be eligible for All-NBA honors,” the Athletic reported.

Jalen Rose voted Kyrie Irving, who played just 29 games, to his third-team All-NBA ballot over Atlanta Hawks marksman Trae Young, and later admitted he was dead wrong for it. That’s little consolation to a player who is actually affected by a poor decision such as Rose’s.

“I need to fall on the sword because I’m the lone person that voted Kyrie Irving third-team All-NBA,” Rose said on ESPN’s “NBA Countdown.” “Now, I get mesmerized by his talent, but it was a mistake to put him on third team. I’m glad that didn’t cost Trae Young his spot, who deserved it more. So, I’m going to own that.”

While this issue in sports may not be talked about as much or carry as much significance as other issues, losing out on postseason accolades is something that can hurt a player’s pockets and can affect their legacy in the long run.

While Tatum has cracked the first-team All-NBA and will most likely be able to still secure a supermax deal at the end of his current contract extension, this is an issue that will continue to plague the league and cost some deserving players a grip in incentives. 

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