Freshly-minted Boston Celtics full head coach Joe Mazzulla on why he quit chewing gum

Freshly-minted Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla has made a name for himself as something of a coaching wunderkind in his inaugural season at the helm of the storied franchise, which has trained the careful eye of the media intensely upon him.

But as is often the case, the press is quick to notice quirks — but less quick to note their absence. In Mazzulla’s case, the intense gum-chewing habit sported by the Celtics coach quickly became a meme, but Mazzulla recently revealed he’s since given up the gum mastication. “I haven’t chewed gum in the last 20 games and no one has said a word,” said the coach to host Justin Termine on the “SiriusXM NBA Radio” show via NBC Sports Boston’s Darren Hartwell. “No one has noticed it.”

Why did he go cold turkey with a relatively benign vice like gum? “I’m changing up my breathing patterns, trying to just work on my focus and awareness during the game,” he offered.

“I felt like the gum chewing was messing up my heart rate variability and I wasn’t getting the breaths that I needed to be as focused as I was,” Mazzulla explained. “So it was more of a crutch than it was a positive. So I completely eliminated it.”

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