Gordon Hayward is an American professional basketball player in the National Basketball Association (NBA) who is currently a free agent.
Let’s find out some interesting facts about him!
1. Gordon Daniel Hayward was born March 23, 1990 in Brownsburg, Indiana.
2. In his senior year (2007–08), Hayward was named first team All-State and led Brownsburg to the Indiana Class 4A state championship.
3. In the 4A state title game, Hayward hit the game-winning layup at the buzzer to defeat Marion High School 40–39.
4. Hayward averaged 18.0 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game as a senior.
5. Hayward’s unusual skill set—Pat Forde, then of ESPN.com, called him “The guy who learned how to play like a guard but now has the size of a power forward”—was largely the result of his father’s misconception about his future growth.
6. His father, Gordon Scott Hayward, is 5’10” (1.78 m), as is his mother Jody.
7. Believing that their son was destined to be average sized, his father, according to Forde, “continually pushed his son to develop a guard’s skill set.”
8. The younger Hayward’s first appearance in the sports pages was not in basketball but in tennis— he and his twin sister, Heather, were featured in a regional edition of the Indianapolis Star when they played mixed doubles together at the Indiana State Open in 2005.
9. Heather had already played #1 singles for her high school team, and Gordon would follow in his sister’s footsteps the next year; at the time, they hoped to attend their parents’ alma mater of Purdue University.
10. Although Gordon’s first love was basketball, he would later recall, “I looked at the future and figured playing basketball in college wasn’t realistic.”
11. In fact, as a 5’11” (1.80 m) freshman, he seriously considered quitting basketball entirely to focus on tennis; his mother persuaded him to stay with the sport one more year.
12. The twins’ plans changed when the younger Gordon underwent an unexpected growth spurt. He shot up to 6’4 as a sophomore and two years after he almost abandoned basketball, he had grown to 6’7″ (2.01 m); he reached 6’8″ (2.03 m) as a senior, and reportedly added another inch at Butler (though the NBA lists him at 6’8″).
13. He would soon have profiles on recruiting websites in both tennis and basketball. Gordon ultimately received three scholarship offers—one from nearby IUPUI, another from Purdue, and one from Butler.
14. He ultimately chose Butler because the Bulldogs’ 6:30 am practices would not interfere with his planned major of computer engineering and because Heather would be able to play tennis there.
15. While he verbally committed to Butler as a junior, he skipped AAU basketball during the following summer because he wanted to put in enough tennis practice to contend for a state high school title in his senior year. He had a 26–3 record in singles that year, but lost in the state tournament.
16. Hayward unexpectedly made an instant impact in his freshman year (2008–09).
17. In the offseason, Hayward was selected to Team USA for the 2009 FIBA Under-19 World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand.
18. Playing for Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon, Hayward was a surprise star for the Championship squad, averaging 10 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. At the conclusion of the tournament, Hayward was named to the “All-Star Five” of the event, with teammate Tyshawn Taylor.
19. After raising his profile in the FIBA tournament, Hayward was named to numerous preseason All-America teams, and was a preseason candidate for the Wooden Award and the Naismith Award prior to the 2009–10 NCAA Division I men’s basketball season. He was also named preseason All-Horizon League.
20. During the 2009–10 season, Hayward was the only player to finish in the Horizon League’s top five in both scoring and rebounding; he was also in the league’s top 10 in field goal percentage, free throw percentage, blocked shots, offensive rebounding, defensive rebounding (in which he led the league), and minutes per game.
21. At the end of the regular season, he was named the Horizon League Player of the Year.
22. Hayward was also named a third-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American.
23. In the NCAA Tournament, Hayward was named the MVP of the West Region as he led Butler to the National Championship game.
24. In the championship game against Duke, he barely missed a game-winning, buzzer-beating, half-court shot, which hit the backboard and rim, and would have given Butler its first NCAA championship
25. He was selected by the Utah Jazz with the ninth overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft.
26. Hayward was named an NBA All-Star for the first time in 2017.
27. Outside of basketball, Hayward is an avid video game player, and has been involved with the IGN Pro League. Some of the games he plays include StarCraft II, League of Legends and Clash Royale.
28. During the 2016 offseason, Hayward entered a club-level charity tennis tournament in Salt Lake City, his first known competition in that sport since high school, and went on to win the tournament.
29. His first-round opponent would tell The Wall Street Journal in 2017, “I always wanted to know what it was like to be at the other end of [John] Isner’s serve, and this is what it is like. Professional athletes in any sport—they’re just a different animal.”
30. In 2015, Hayward’s wife, Robyn, gave birth to the couple’s first child. In July 2016, the couple’s second child was born.
31. Hayward is Roman Catholic.
Image: Sporting News