After a few hours of genuine confusion, Gordon Hayward signed with the Boston Celtics last night. This is obviously a tough blow for the Jazz, who won 51 games last season and were looking to cement a place near the top of the Western Conference for years to come, with Hayward leading them. Now they are just a basketball team with Rudy Gobert and Joe Ingles. So far, people who root for and cover the Jazz are not adjusting to this new reality very well.
We’ll start with SB Nation’s Jazz site, which pulled off one of the wackiest blog post/editor’s note combinations I’ve ever seen. Under an innocuous headline that reads “Gordon Hayward confirms he is signing with the Boston Celtics,” things get raw fast:
Gordon Hayward came out of the closet, finally, and admitted that he wanted to wear Boston Celtics green instead of, you know, the only colors he’s worn his entire career with the Utah Jazz. [Edit 10:16 PM ET: What’s in a closet? Clothes are in a closet. He is changing clothes - from a blue jersey to a green one. What do you do in a closet? You can sometimes hide in one. For about five hours today he, his management, and his representation hid his intentions in the closet making us speculate if he was going to come out wearing blue or green. And this went on after lying about where he was going, and his crew then attempted to do some PR spin after having the information leaked. Is there a double entendre? Yes! He went into the closet as the leader, but now we see him emerge as a follower. He wants to be the second banana. Sorry, I’ve been visiting family and I play a lot of hide and go seek right now with nephews and nieces under the age of five. An easy hiding spot is the closet. That is the closet on my mind, not some sexuality context for it. Not everything is about sex. This is a sports blog. Not a lifestyle blog. Metaphors are complex. What my intention is and your reception of what I write may often miss the mark. I’m not going to be angry with you if you don’t get what I write.] No longer wanting adoring media and a staring role, the seventh year player looked hard in the mirror and decided he wanted to be Player 2, and not Player 1. He let it all out on the Player’s Tribune.
Don’t worry, though, the author of the post has a solid defense:
Now let’s check in with some fans who don’t have blogs, but do have Twitter accounts and a commitment to a dumb hashtag:
Imagine giving enough of a shit about Gordon Hayward to burn his jersey. Living in a one-sport town makes people go insane! It makes them go so insane that they will film themselves burning a Gordon Hayward shirsey while Linkin Park plays in the background:
Now all we need to complete the cycle is a local columnist having a piss fit. The Salt Lake Tribune’s Gordon Monson can help us out:
He leaves behind the team, the people, who may not have been perfect but that were fine enough to help develop him into the player he is. That says something about who and what Hayward is, as a competitor, as a man. That’s the confounded thing about NBA free agency — players expect fans and franchises to give them darn near everything they’ve got, and then when they mostly receive it, they remember the times when maybe they didn’t get everything exactly the way they wanted it. And they run off to some other place where the grass looks greener, but the people and circumstances are no more flawless.
Fenway, Schmenway. Boston fans might cheer him now. Wait until he doesn’t win a championship.
Hayward could have owned this state had he shown a warmer side, had he reciprocated the positive emotion that did come his way. He made basketball advances that were profound. His connection to Utah, to the people here, though, seemed emptier than it should have.
Okay, now you can go back to not caring about Utah or the Jazz.