Gordon Hayward’s Subtle and Awesome Tribute to Kobe Bryant That No One Noticed

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty)

Gordon Hayward, a video game enthusiast who also happens to play professional basketball for the Utah Jazz, knows all too well how much it can hurt to barely miss an important shot in the closing seconds of a game that everyone in the world is watching.

So you can understand why, in a matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers that would have been meaningless if not for its being the final game in the epic career of Kobe Bryant, Hayward wanted to make sure the Black Mamba went out on the high note he deserved.

As Kobe dismantled the Jazz in the closing minutes and approached the 60-point mark, already owning the record for the highest scoring output in a final game, Bryant went to the free-throw line in search of points 59 and 60.




After Vino sank the first, Hayward entered the lane early as Kobe attempted his second free throw.

Check the 40-second mark of this video.

No, he wasn't trying to distract Bryant. More likely, he was ensuring Bryant would reach the 60-point mark.

By stepping into the lane, if Bryant had missed the second free throw (which clearly wasn't happening considering how Kobe shot down the stretch), Hayward would have been whistled for a lane violation, giving Bryant a second chance at 60.

Of course, it would have been a lot funnier had Hayward gotten more creative with his 60-ensuring violations. Like hip checking a ref or cursing out a child in the stands.

But I guess a lane violation would have been just fine.