Utah Jazz Notes

Gordon Hayward receives positive feedback for gesture before All-Star Game

First Published      Last Updated Feb 23 2017 11:10 am

Gordon Hayward's 17 minutes of playing time Sunday in New Orleans were relatively uneventful by NBA All-Star Game standards.

But the Utah Jazz forward caused some buzz before the ball was tipped off.

As the players stood for the national anthem, Hayward was the only member of the Western Conference team to place his hand over his heart — a gesture that did not go unnoticed online after the team had posted a photo to its official Twitter account.

"I got a bunch of tweets about that one," Hayward said Wednesday as the Jazz resumed practice. "So that's cool."

Before the start of the season, while NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's decision to protest during the anthem by kneeling had created a wave of support from other athletes and ignited a national debate, the Jazz decided as a team that they would stand together and place their arms around each other's shoulders during the playing of the anthem.

Hayward, however, always has hand on a teammate's shoulder and another over his heart. The forward said he wasn't trying to go out of his way to make a statement before the All-Star Game when he stayed true to his routine.

"I do it for every game," he said. "I wasn't thinking anything extra of it. It's what I believe in. It's what I do. That's all."

— Aaron Falk