Gordon Hayward will make his first return to Utah on Friday since jilting the Jazz and signing with the Celtics more than a year ago as a free agent.
Before he steps back onto the court at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, he sent a message to the fans who once cheered his name for seven seasons.
— Gordon Hayward (@gordonhayward) November 9, 2018
That “#GameOn” attitude will extend from the hardwood and into the stands Friday as Jazz fans are fully prepared to boo Hayward out of the building.
“I’m gonna boo him, I’m gonna lose my voice — I’m just gonna boo him the whole night when he steps on the court,” Jazz fan Simeon Mismash told The Salt Lake Tribune. “I’m never gonna boo someone as much as Gordon Hayward. Deron Williams … Enes Kanter … Derek Fisher, all of them combined is gonna be Gordon Hayward on Friday.”
It’s not unusual for fans to hate a player who skips town (see: flaming LeBron James jerseys), but it seems personal for some Jazz fans who think Hayward’s departure stings a bit more than others as he gave owner Gail Miller the silent treatment in the days between Utah’s pitch to keep him and his decision to go to Boston.
“I would give him the silence he gave Gail and the Jazz,” Utah fan Diana Allen said when asked how she’s planning to greet Hayward come Friday.
Another fan, McKay Peck, added: “If he had left in a good way, I would cheer him for what he did for the franchise, but I will be booing him because of how he left.”
Tipoff for Friday’s game is set for 9:30 p.m. ET.