Gordon Hayward worked out with Kobe Bryant during the 2016 offseason. He told us about those workouts, saying, “He’s one of a kind, for sure—I believe all those stories. I already respected him a lot, but then after working with him just for three days, it made me respect him even more. Just his work ethic, his intensity, his passion for the game were really inspiring.”
Kobe helped Gordon with his finishing at the rim and his improving his footwork. And Hayward used that advice to make it to his first All-Star Game in 2017. After leading the Jazz to the second round of the playoffs, he made his way to Boston.
But he suffered a gruesome injury last night that will most likely end his 2017-18 season after just five minutes of game action.
Kobe, who also dealt with devastating season-ending injuries, reached out to Hayward via Instagram to offer guidance:
Be sad. Be mad. Be frustrated. Scream. Cry. Sulk. When you wake up you will think it was just a nightmare only to realize it’s all too real. You will be angry and wish for the day back, the game back THAT play back. But reality gives nothing back and nor should you. Time to move on and focus on doing everything in your power to prepare for surgery, ask all the questions to be sure you understand fully the procedure so that you may visualize it in your subconscious while being operated on and better the chance of it’s success. Then focus on the recovery process day by day by day. It’s a long journey but if you focus on the mini milestones along the way you will find beauty in the struggle of doing simple things that prior to this injury were taken for granted. This will also mean that when you return you will have a new perspective. You will be so appreciative of being able to stand, walk, run that you will train harder than you ever have. You see the belief within you grow with each mini milestone and you will come back a better player for it. Best of luck to you on this journey my brother #mambamentality always.
h/t Kobe Bryant IG