LOOK: Kobe sends Hayward encouragement on Instagram
Boston Celtics' Gordon Hayward is carried away in a stretcher in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in Cleveland. Just five minutes into his Boston career, new Celtics star forward Gordon Hayward gruesomely broke his left ankle, an injury that may end his season.(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
NBA.com staff report
In the final game of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant gave his many fans a sendoff to remember as he dropped 60 points on the Utah Jazz. And a good portion of those points came over the outstretched arm of then-Jazz star Gordon Hayward.
That scoring showcase was anything but personal for Bryant against Hayward, as Kobe has long been a fan of Hayward's game (and vice versa). Bryant also recently said Hayward is among the players he regularly talks to and Hayward, in the past, asked Bryant to help him perfect his mid-range game.
In the wake of Hayward's gruesome leg and ankle injuries suffered last night, Bryant took to Instagram to offer up some words of encouragement to the Boston Celtics' forward.
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.
Bryant himself knows the trials of coming back from injuries well, as he missed games from 2013 to the start of the 2015-16 season with a variety of maladies.
And lastly, speaking of Hayward's days in Utah, some Jazz fans have built a mini-shrine for Hayward at the J-note statue outside Vivint Smart Home Arena.
A Gordon Hayward shrine has emerged at the J-Note statue outside Vivint Arena... pic.twitter.com/qjOfY2dHSz— Carter Williams (@cwilliamsKSL) October 18, 2017