Famous sports videos usually feature noteworthy dunks or highlight plays. But one of the most viral NBA videos of 2017 features what some consider the “pop” heard round the sports world.
Gordon Hayward was ranked number 32 in the NBA’s top 100 players last year as one of the best Utah Jazz small forwards. Last year was an amazing year for Hayward, averaging 21.9 points per game, 5.4 rebounds per game, and 3.5 assists per game.
He helped lead his team to the playoffs last year where they made it past the first round 4-3 and onto the second round before being completely swept by the Golden State Warriors. Now, Hayward is on the Boston Celtics and ranked number 34 out of the NBA’s top 100 players.
But the start of this year’s NBA season, Hayward took a horrific and possibly career-ending ankle injury in a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. In the first half of the first quarter, with six minutes and 45 seconds left, point guard Kyrie Irving took the ball up court and Hayward drove in towards the basket.
Irving threw Hayward an alley-oop and Hayward jumped up in the air with Jae Crowder and Lebron James on him playing tough defense. When Hayward came down hard hitting the court floor, a loud pop could be heard around the arena. In a video that went viral, Hayward can be seen sitting on the court floor in agony with his foot at an unnatural angle, while coaches and personal trainers come rushing towards him to check on his injury.
Immediately afterward, Hayward’s coach, Brad Stevens, said “He’s down. Obviously, there’s a physical pain to it, but I think it’s also doubled by the emotional pain of, you know, he put a lot of effort into trying to start this, his career, out well in Boston.”
But as a booster to his emotional and physical recovery, Hayward’s two daughters, Charlotte and Bernadette, helped speed up his recovery. A Snapchat clip that was released Oct. 27 showed Hayward spending time with his daughters as they decorated his cast with stickers.
Hayward’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, said that his return to this year’s season is unlikely, as he underwent surgery on Oct. 19 for a dislocated ankle and a fractured tibia. But “we expect him to make a full recovery and return to his All-Star form,” said Bartelstein.
Fluco NBA fans appear to have been riveted by the event. “The injury was very horrific and it was hard to watch, especially since that was his first game as a Celtic and it happened in the first minute of the game. Despite losing the game after he got hurt, they have gone on to have the best record in the NBA, and some say it could be credited to doing it for Gordon Hayward,” said FCHS senior AJ Gregory.
As for Hayward, FCHS freshman Chris Whittle thinks that it is only a matter of time until he makes a comeback. “Hayward is going to be somebody when he comes back from his recovery,” he said.
Based on how they have done since that game, the Celtics seem to be doing just fine without one of their star players, sending a message that they are ready to play with their record of eighteen wins and three losses as of Nov. 25. The Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving appears to be carrying the team on his shoulders until Hayward returns as he leads the team in scoring and steals, averaging 23.0 points per game and 1.7 steals per game.