Gordon Hayward did not receive a warm reception from Jazz fans Friday.
The 28-year-old forward returned to Utah for the first time since he signed a four-year, $128 million contract with the Celtics in July 2017. He was booed loudly during pre-game introductions.
Hayward booed heavily during starting lineups. pic.twitter.com/Oy2ugnKBC0
— Marc D’Amico (@Marc_DAmico) November 10, 2018
Hayward was also booed every time he touched the ball during warmups before the game.
Fans booing Gordon Hayward during layup lines in Utah. pic.twitter.com/zrnfHWynLK
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 10, 2018
One Utah fan was even seen wearing an old Hayward jersey which read “Coward” on the nameplate.
— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) November 10, 2018
During the game, fans started chanting “we don’t miss you” when Hayward was shooting a free throw in the third quarter.
“WE DON’T MISS YOU!” chants break out here in Salt Lake City.
— A. Sherrod Blakely (@ASherrodblakely) November 10, 2018
The Jazz held on for a 123-115 win over Boston. Hayward scored 13 points and dished out seven assists in 26 minutes on the floor.
When asked what he was expecting in his return, Hayward admitted he wasn’t sure if he was excited or dreading it.
“Something in between,” Hayward told reporters after the game, via ESPN. “More than anything, I was looking forward to seeing [people]. I spent seven years here, so I built some great relationships and was looking forward to seeing some of those people … maybe dreading a little bit about just the hoopla of the whole thing.
“We’re focused on our own thing, and I know the Jazz are focused on their thing, too.”
Hayward was originally selected by the Jazz out of Butler with the ninth pick in the 2010 draft. He spent his first seven seasons in Utah, averaging 15.7 points per game, before he signed with Boston.
Hayward broke his ankle in Boston’s first game last season and missed the rest of the year. He was out with the injury when the Celtics visited Utah in 2017-18.
Hayward played for current Celtics coach Brad Stevens when the two were at Butler from 2008-10.