Gordon Hayward grew up playing tennis at a pretty high level and now we know this: he’s more Bjorn Born than John McEnroe.
The Utah Jazz swingman got into a little tussle with the Clippers’ Mo Williams in the second half of Wednesday’s 107-105 loss at EnergySolutions Arena. Both Hayward and Williams were assessed technicals.
Later, in the locker room, Hayward said it was his first technical.
First of the season? First as a professional? First since high school?
Nope. First ever.
“First technical ever,” he said. “It was physical out there.”
“It wasn’t even a good one,” he added. “I didn’t even get to yell at the ref.”
Hayward is more competitive and much more intense than he gets credit for; still, it’s hard to imagine him really going off on a ref anyway. At least not the way McEnroe used to abuse linesmen in tennis.
“I played tennis a lot and you’re really supposed to keep your cool, not show your emotions or anything like that,” he said. “I’ve always tried to keep my cool, not show when I’m up, not show when I’m down.
So, no Johnny Mac on the tennis court?
“I was exactly the opposite,” Hayward said. “Bjorn Borg.”
Hayward and Williams got physical with each other while trying to establish position during a Jazz in-bound play with 4:43 left in the third quarter. The smaller Williams was trying to move Hayward out of position but he was having none of it.
“I didn’t even know I got (the technical),” Hayward said. “But I’m not going to back down. I was just trying to get to my spot and he wouldn’t let me. I was a physical game.”