“It was kind of funny, before the play I asked the defender guarding me if he thought I could make it and he said ‘no, you’re not gonna score on me.’ I said alright. It was a little challenge and that always keeps me going.”
“…You react to the game naturally, the natural offensive flow. Coach Mac has been on me to basically shoot more if I get open opportunities. A lot came tonight. It really is as simple as that.”
“It was amazing, an amazing experience. It was a dream come true. I was nervous when I got in. The whole time I’m thinking I just want to get this moment over so I can get the jitters and the bugs out of my stomach and just play basketball.”
“I just asked them questions like how the coaches and players were. They had nothing but positive things to say about it. I knew it was going to be an easy and smooth transition to come down and play with a great group of guys here.”
“…Hopefully we’ve helped people and I’ve had a small role in helping people improve their careers and improve their lives.”
“I think you have to enjoy your time where you’re at. Definitely get to know the place, learn the history about where you are and make sure you’re making the best of all your situations…”
“…Once it was over and we won, we sat back and had seen the videos and all the things that people made, and it was unbelievable. It was emotional. But we were so focused on winning the next game one by one that we were just locked in.”
“If you’re not being you, then he looks at what he can do to make you comfortable. He’s one of my favorite coaches of all time.”"
“…I think in the first three quarters against Austin, and the second half tonight, I thought we executed our defensive game plan as well as we have all season.”
“I mean, it’s just guys that know how to play the game. When you get guys that know how to play basketball together on the court, regardless of whether they know each other, it’s just playing the game.”
Asher said what now?
“It’s a funky way to schedule a back-to-back, but hey, it is what it is. That’s the G League.”
“We have a four game road trip coming up against all the California teams. It’s always tough to play on the road, so hopefully we can find some good consistency and put some wins together.”
“It’s just being consistent. Just do my job, just be a great teammate. Everyone sees that. It’s not always about scoring, especially at this level. At the next level, all you’re gonna be is a role player. So it’s about showing what you can do off the ball and hopefully I can continue doing that.”
“I always have to give a big shoutout to my teammates. They always set me up for big shots, set me up for great success. Without them, none of this is happening these first five games.”
“I think, as a point guard, it’s your job to know where your teammates like getting the ball, giving it to them when they’re open. Seeing that we have the ball in our hands for so much of the time, I just think they feed off of it.”
As many know, my favorite non-Dirk basketball player is Gordon Hayward. (I don’t really consider Dirk human, more of an entity, leaving Hayward to claim the top spot in my heart.)
He returns to Utah tonight for the first time since leaving the Jazz two summers ago for the Boston Celtics. I desperately wanted him to stay with the Jazz and Jazz fans are totally in their right to boo him for leaving. That's the way sports works.
I would have loved to see him, especially as my favorite player and the lovable dorky nerd gamer he is, buck the current free agent trend and stay with his original team despite the small market.
It didn’t happen. And it was ugly. The leaked decision and the subsequent Players Tribune post made a tricky situation a certifiable mess.
When a big free agent leaves a team, it usually leaves them in an unenviable spot. However. Donavan Mitchell is a STUD. Obviously that is a happy coincidence lining up with Hayward’s flimsy departure, but the Jazz are more than happy with Mitchell and are anything but left high and dry after Hayward exited in free agency.
Added into the Hayward mix is his devastating injury seconds into his career with his new team. It wasn’t just any injury either, but a gruesome one on national TV that could very well have ended his young career right then and there.
The ultimate humbling variable in sports is injuries. Just like in non-athlete, regular human life, health is precious. To an athlete, health is their livelihood. Gordon was forced to miss an entire year of his career and the pain he went through on that night is something I hope you and I never have to experience.
I’ve gotten to meet Hayward a couple times when he came through Dallas. It was brief, short and sweet as most athlete encounters are. He gave me his wristband that he wears during games, with the words “Eyes Up Do The Work” inscribed into it. That was in 2014. I still wear it.
So let’s not boo Gordon. The Jazz are just fine.
And he’s expecting his third daughter. He desperately wanted a son. Give the guy a break.
A Jazz fan, but a bigger Gordon Hayward fan
P.S. I’ll throw on my green Jazz Hayward jersey for the game tonight.
“The first two years I felt like I was forcing it a little bit. I’m playing more freely now and trying to do what the team needs me to do.”
“Cancer has affected so many people in this country, breast cancer specifically has touched some people in my life, so it was automatic.”
Come for the bad pun, stay for the good story.