Get to Know: Gordon Hayward
From David Locke’s “Get to Know” series with Jazz players.
“OK. Gordon Hayward, 6’8″, Guard-Forward, Butler University.”
The perfect fan. I mean, she has always been there for me, you know, whether I’ve struggled, whether I’ve done well. You know, she kinda pushed me to continue to play basketball when I was ready to give it up, and, you know, focus on tennis. So, you know, she’s just perfect fan…
My dad was more the tough love. You know, they were both really good though. I mean, it was always constructive criticism when it was criticism.
You knew you were in trouble when…
When I went to my mom for something that I did wrong, you know, like I messed up and my mom got home first. And I went to her, and I knew, the look on her face, when she saw what I did. It was like, “Aw dude, you’re in trouble, man.”
It was a good day in the home when…
When we had a lot of activities going on. You know, anytime we didn’t have anything to do, that just meant I had to do something around the house, you know? So it’s like, every, anytime it, like Labor Day or something like where we got school off, it was not a good day, ’cause that just meant you’re gonna work, you’re gonna be laboring all day around the house. That’s what that meant.
Greatest high school sports moment
You can look this up on Youtube. Just type in “Gordon Hayward last-second shot.” We went to the state finals, and you know, high school basketball in Indiana is everything. So to win the state championship on a last-second shot, you know, in my home state, like I said, I mean, it was unbelievable…
The thing that was crazy about that game was, it was kind of a bad game to watch and then it got interesting right at the end. We were winning the whole game, and they hit a three with like two seconds left to put them up. You know, so then you go back to the sideline like, “Man, we just lost.”
And we gotta go the length of the floor, and I think there was, like, five or six timeouts called before we could even get to play, ’cause both coaches were, like, trying to figure out what to do, and then, you know, we just threw it down the court, and I just scooped it up and put it in. So, pretty crazy…
The 22nd was the night we played, and then, you know, we had a escort all the way back to town, and then basically the whole town was in the gym for like a pep session-like parade thing. And it turned midnight, and so everybody, like the next day, it was basically the 23rd, which was my birthday.
And everybody sang “Happy Birthday,” so it was like, you know, hundreds and hundreds of people singing me “Happy Birthday.” And I was just, like, super embarrassed.
First teacher/coach/mentor to see something special
Well, since we can’t say parents, if I had to choose, it’d be my dad. You know, he was initially the one, but probably Coach [Brad] Stevens at Butler. You know, I had a, my dream was always to play in the NBA. I wrote it down when I was really little and I had a bunch of goals, and I had reached all those goals up into college, but you know, honestly it’s, it was way far out there.
And then when I first met with him, you know, he said, “Hey, I think it could take a lot of work, but I can see you playing at the next level.” He said, “I think you have the ability to play,” and you know, that was kind of the first moment where it was like, “OK, someone else believes in me and they think I can actually do this. So I think it can be done.” So I really appreciate, you know, what he did for me.
** First pair of basketball shoes: I don’t even remember ‘em. I played basketball when I was like, four years old. So I, probably some super cheap ones that I didn’t like, that my dad liked, forced me to get the ones, like, he was always about how much shoes cost and not how they look, you know? So it was probably something off-brand, something or other.
** First car you ever drove, and how old were you: 15. You know, I was, I had my permit. I drove what I called the “White Warrior,” which was our mini-van, and I drove that all the way through high school.
** First car you ever owned: 2011 Honda Accord that I have right now…You know, I’m going to keep that car probably ’til it runs out, but second contract, I might get a upgrade.
** Favorite meal: Subway.
** What was on the walls of your childhood room: Poster of Reggie Miller and Michael Jordan standing next to each other. Poster of Peyton Manning, rookie year. Poster of Reggie and Dale Davis and Rik Smits. Purdue poster; my parents both went to Purdue. And that’s it.
** If you were an actor, what kind of actor would you want to be? Like a James Bond or something like that. Or, or, or, like Batman. Like a superhero. Those are pretty cool.
** Superpower you’d pick: Ability to control time. It’s the best one. Guaranteed you can’t lose. It’s the best superpower. You can teleport wherever you want. You can go back in time and change stuff. Like, you can’t ever lose.
It was really kind of funny how this question made Gordon come alive and he suddenly got all animated.
** If you could have dinner with three people, dead or alive, who would they be? Dinner with my grandma, you know, my mom’s mom died of cancer, and so I barely knew her. But I heard she was fantastic. Dinner with Abraham Lincoln, one of the greatest presidents, probably. And dinner with Jesus.
** First-ever game winner: It was either fourth or fifth grade. We were in the AAU tournament…I think we were down by two or three. Nah, it had to be two. Somebody dribbled down and kicked it to me for a three. And I shot it and hit it.
** First video game ever played: Super Mario Bros. Mario, Nintendo.
** First dunk: 10th grade, left-handed, fast break.
** Worst job you ever had: I’ve never really worked besides the NBA. [House chores?] The worst chore is weeding–NO! Worst chore is mulching. I told my mom that I don’t mulch anymore. Like, I told them that. After the first time I did it, “I’m done mulching.” Like, I’ll weed. I’ll do anything. I’m not mulching. Like, hate that smell.
** Who would you rather play with in their prime, Stockton or Malone? I’m going to have to say John Stockton. I mean, he’s, you look at his assist record and it’s just dumb. Like, he’s so far ahead of, and like, it’s just not, I don’t, he would set you up so well.
** Best Halloween costume: My mom made my sister and I these, like, we were like supposed to be knights. But, and she, like, made us, so we were like, the hor–we were like the knight on the horse. I don’t know, it looked pretty cool.
** Best Christmas present: Xbox.
From a series of videos being uploaded by @da_breezman.
** Favorite NBA Arena: Indianapolis. It’s just fun playing there, ’cause you know, it’s where I’m from. And so, all my family and friends are there, and I grew up watching games there, and you know, dreaming one day I could maybe play there.
** Game-Day Style: Probably some type of nicer jean, and then a button-down long shirt, regardless of what kind it is. And I like to usually wear sneakers for shoes.
** Favorite Road City: Besides home, it’s probably either Chicago or Boston. Chicago is fun because, again, like, some of my friends and buddies come up and if we have the day off before, you know, we can walk around the city.
** Best Thing About Jazz Fans: I love the fact that Jazz fans, you know, are with us whether we’re winning or losing.
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