Gordon Hayward is playing like a star this year for the Utah Jazz, something most fans have been waiting for for years after watching him lead his Butler Bulldogs deep in the NCAA tournament. Beyond his regicide earlier this season, he has been taking care of business all game long.
It's cool for the NBA to recognize this and give him some pub. Sure, they had him on NBA Inside Stuff for a quick take, but didn't have very long sequence, though it was much shorter than the one they they just had during the same episode about Chandler Parsons trying on cowboy hats, but that's the way it goes.
I can't find a good video of the interview to post here, so I wrote it up. N.B. The questions were posed by someone off-camera, so only the answers were broadcast. Intercut between each answer is a series of highlights from this season and earlier ones. Overall it's a fun little piece that's only about 2 minutes long.
Hayward: Best highlight of NBA career was probably my rookie year: we went back to Indiana which is where I'm from, where I played college basketball. As soon as I checked into the game I got a standing ovation from the crowd. It was just pretty unique because we were the away team. And I got a fast break and dunked on Paul George. That was probably my best highlight so far.
Hayward: Favorite player growing up initially was Reggie Miller, you know [I've been] a Pacers fan ever since I can remember. I was pretending I was him in the back yard, counting down the clock and hitting the game winner. Then when I got older I tried to start modeling my game after Steve Nash. My parents are both 5'10 so my dad said that you're going to have to be a point guard if you want to play in the NBA. Luckily I grew, so I didn't have to do that; but he was one of my favorite players.
Hayward: The story behind #20 for me kinda goes back to some other NBA guys. When I was in high school you had Ray Allen was #20, Manu Ginobili was #20, and I kinda looked up to them so it just stuck with that.
It's cool that G-Time is getting national pub, it's the first step towards having the team be recognized as being a team of up and coming stars. This, in conjunction with the Trey Burke / Dante Exum piece a few weeks ago, helps keep the Jazz in the public mind and opens up the idea that the team has good enough players to talk about. (I don't remember Randy Foye or Josh Howard talking about how awesome things were in a Jazz jersey.)
Keep it up Jazz, and in no time we'll be back in the playoffs and getting favorable calls! And thanks to Diana for finding this story and talking about it in her Downbeat here.