2018-12-20T13:41:32+00:00May 10th, 2016|

Since the end of the season, I’ve had some time to unwind and decompress. I have to admit, it’s hard to not be playing right now. Instead, I’m just sitting at home and seeing the playoffs everywhere on TV and social media. It’s frustrating. We felt like we could have been in the playoffs, and probably should have been.

That was the goal for us coming into the season.

But we dealt with a lot. We had four of our main guys go down this year, and still, guys stepped up. Even through all the adversity that we had, we gave ourselves a shot, and even though we fell short, I’m proud of the way that we battled and competed. We played some of the best teams to ever play, and with one of the least experienced teams in the league, we took them down to the wire. We did a lot of things that will help us in the future.

Most importantly, I want to thank the fans for their support this season. I know we didn’t meet all of the expectations, but you stayed loyal. It was amazing to experience and we don’t take you for granted at all. We want to win for you, and we’re excited for what’s to come. It didn’t work out this season, but hopefully, every single member of our team is using that feeling of going home early as fuel for next year.

It’s definitely fuel for me. I can’t stand watching these playoff teams play, and not be able to be a part of it.


The number one priority we need to focus on this offseason is our health. We had a lot of guys who were out or were less than 100 percent for parts of the season, myself included.

One of the biggest reasons why I train so hard in the offseason is to be at my strongest and most fit I can possibly be during the grind of the NBA season. Over time, you learn how to fight through pain. You learn how to play through bangs and bruises. Playing with plantar fasciitis was definitely painful, but when a game gets close, the pain kind of just goes away for me. (The most painful part of plantar fasciitis, as anyone who has had it will tell you, is in the mornings, right when you wake up. It’s definitely really sore and painful.)

Somebody who plays the amount of minutes I do is going to be banged up. There’s 82 games, a lot of back-to-back games, and other games where you don’t get much sleep before or after. Learning to get out there on the court, turn the professional switch on and bring it every night is something I take pride in. Although I played 80 games this year, I wish I could have played 82.

Personally, I took it as a challenge when our guys went down. And when I wasn’t 100 percent, we learned that other guys could step up. I thought Rodney Hood and Trey Lyles both played extremely well and had the right mentalities to help us compete in those times. Those experiences allowed me to gain confidence in our younger guys, and that’s important. They also helped us to stay in contention, despite the adversity.

Sometimes, you have injuries that are freak accidents, and there’s nothing you can do about it. However, a lot of them are definitely preventable if you train harder during the offseason. As a leader, I can get guys together, and make sure that we’re training. I can make sure that people have a good place to train. This summer, I’m giving guys the option of coming to work out with me. I want to do everything I can to make sure we’re working together, and moving forward.


During the last couple games of the season, we were going up against veteran teams with years of experience on us, and it showed. However, it also showed us how we have to play and compete down the stretch, when we’re fighting for a playoff spot, and teams are amping up the intensity.

Those last games were high-intensity and high-pressure environments. But I honestly don’t think the pressure of the moment played a role. Guys were loose. We felt energized. In those situations, experience and knowing how to play playoff-intensity basketball games just means so much. It’s completely different than playing games in November. The games that we played at the end of the year were basically playoff games, and we just fell short.

There were a lot of games this year where you could tell that we were a younger team, and that it was our first time being in those moments. Then there were some games where we showed that we have the potential to be a really tough team in those situations—a team that can play really well, and get the job done.

The West is super tough. A lot of people have talked about the East, and how it’s gotten so much better. Some say it might be potentially better, top to bottom, than the West. I would disagree with that. The East for sure has gotten better, but look at the top three teams in the West. Those are elite teams. Golden State and San Antonio are historically great teams—two of the best teams to play all-time. The Thunder have arguably two of the top five players in the world right now. We had to play those teams collectively 12 times. You could also throw the Clippers into that discussion. They had a bunch of injuries, but they had as much talent as anybody.

It was good for us as a team to play those guys so many times. We know what it feels like to play against historically great teams. Each and every night, they bring it. We took all of those teams to overtime, and while we fell just short in those games, it was a great learning experience for us. I have no doubt that it will be beneficial for us to have been in those situations.


I think all of us knew that the season finale in Los Angeles—against the Lakers—was going to be pretty crazy. Kobe Bryant is one of the best players to ever play this game and he is loved by fans across the country. Any time he played on the road this season, it was crazy. We saw that in Utah. But this was different. This was the last game of his career, and it was at home. You knew that there were going to be a lot of people, and the fans really, really showed up.

The Rockets were already up by 30 when we were on the bus going to the game. So we knew we probably weren’t going to the playoffs, and that the game in LA was just going to be an experience for all of us. Quite frankly, that’s kind of what it was. It was something we will definitely all remember as players, and probably something we won’t ever be a part of again.

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Lakers

I didn’t really get much of a chance to talk to Kobe before the game—we just exchanged a few words, nothing big. There were probably at least 50 cameras around him. And when the game started, the atmosphere was different from anything I’ve ever experienced. Everyone in the arena was excited whenever he touched the ball. And every time Kobe got it, they wanted him to shoot it, and they were booing us for even trying to defend him.

We were trying to win, and for a while there we were. But at the end of the game, in the closing minutes, everything that transpired kind of shocked us, to be honest. We were up double digits for most of the second half, and we led by 10 with about three minutes to go. So when Kobe started hitting shots and the game started to get close, a lot of us were in shock.

It was like being a part of a showcase, or being in a video game. There wasn’t really much normality about it. A guy scored 60 points and took 50 shots. There was something different as far as his aggressiveness. I think every time he touched it, you knew he was going to try to shoot it, or try to score, or try to get something going. He’s always an aggressive player, but that night, he was ultra-aggressive and tried to score on every single possession.

That’s harder to defend than you might think, when you’re constantly getting screened. If he’s got the ball, it’s going to be a ball screen. If he doesn’t have the ball, it’s going to be a pin-down or some other screen to get him the ball. I thought for the most part, we played pretty tough defense. There were a bunch of possessions where we forced him into tough shots. But he’s Kobe Bryant.

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Lakers

When he starts to hit shots and the crowd starts to get going, you’re just trying to do what you can to stop him. There comes a point where he is in the zone, and there’s almost nothing you can do. And Kobe kind of got to that, there at the end of the game, where he was hitting everything and the crowd was going wild.

It’s something I don’t ever want to have to defend again—a situation where everybody on the other team is working to get shots for one guy. It was definitely a fairy-tale ending for Kobe Bryant and one the sports world will remember forever. Everyone kind of wanted it to be Kobe’s night. Besides us. But that’s how it goes sometimes.

Playing against Kobe is something I’ll never forget. I can remember my rookie year, being kind of star-struck watching him play. But when you’re out there competing against him, he is just the guy that you’re going against and trying to beat. And you better give it everything you have. He was the ultimate competitor and I will always remember playing against him. It’s something I’ll tell my kids about. I’ll be sure to show them the video of me stealing the ball from him and dunking—any highlights I had against him. You’re talking about a guy who is an all-time great. It was truly an honor to compete against him.


  1. Phillip B May 10, 2016 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    You guys have been extremely fun to watch the last few years, getting better and better. This season was tough because of how close so many games were, but that’s also an incredible sign of where you’re headed. Thanks for representing Utah!

  2. Alex Orton May 10, 2016 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    Great to hear your thoughts G-Time. Jazz nation loves you! Have a great offseason and bring the boys back with a vengeance next season. And get in some good LoL games as well.

  3. Mark Wahlen May 10, 2016 at 8:43 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the great season Gordon.

    I really appreciated your personal commitment to the team and for giving everything you had each and every night. I’ve had plantar fasciitis myself and know how tough and painful it can be to play through. Thanks for sacrificing for us and for being an ultimate pro.

    Thanks for the breakdown of the end of the season. It was tough but there’s plenty of good things to come for you and the team.

    On a side note, I wanted to say thanks for being a great example of a father and family man. I really appreciated your part in the #LeanInTogether campaign to promote family values and equality. You have a lot of fans as an NBA basketball player, but over time you’re importance to them will fade. However, the important role you play as a husband and father and the importance you have in your lives of your family will always be there. What better legacy to live and promote than that of a loving and committed father. I look up to you more for your personal commitment to the family and equality than I do for your skill as a basketball player. Equality and especially family values are not so common nor popular in todays’ world. Thank you for having the courage and character to stand up for them.

    Enjoy the off-season with your family and I wish you the best.

  4. Cameron Romine May 10, 2016 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    Thanks Gordon for a fun and exciting year! I truly enjoyed watching you and the Jazz play together and play tough all year. Great to see all the growth in the young guys and excited to see more development in the coming year. Great things are happening here in Utah!

  5. Chris Burningham May 10, 2016 at 8:57 pm - Reply

    Great article Gordon! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate your hard work and leadership! Go Jazz!

  6. Christina Hakala May 10, 2016 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    Great post Gordon. You have nothing to be sad about this season. You all worked really hard and did great. Sure there were setbacks and injuries, but you guys played hard. I, as a fan, appreciate your hard work and determination. I teach my kids the same. Work your hardest towards your goal. If you make it, fantastic, if not, at least you know you tried your hardest and are leaving with knowledge on what to do better next time. My kids look up to you as a role model. Especially my 12 year old son Skyler. He had an opportunity to guard against you once during your Hayward camp, and will always cherish that time. He is always striving to work as hard as you and be that voice and motivation for his team. Thanks again for your hard work and dedication to us fans and the game. Get some needed rest and relaxation with your wife and baby girl. Can’t wait to see you on the court next season.

  7. Kris May 10, 2016 at 9:53 pm - Reply

    Not sure if you actually read these comments, but just wanted to say thank you. I’ve really enjoyed watching you grow as a player and person here in Utah. We are REALLY lucky to have you and you are very underrated, IMO. How many other guys average 19/5/4 in a season? I know the Jazz will do everything they can to build a contender and to keep you here on the team. Just know we would love to keep you and build around you. Thanks for a great season. Looking forward to the playoffs next year 🙂

  8. Craig May 10, 2016 at 11:25 pm - Reply

    Due to all the injuries you guys had last year was difficult but you all played tough and showed improvement,I was hoping and planning on you guys making the playoffs, so in that sense last year was tough to swallow but I saw a lot of reasons to be optimistic. If you can stay together as a team, the sky is the limit, you have a lot of talent on this team. As the leader I hope you lead the way and sign long term to stay in Utah and get the rest of the guys to follow suit. I hope you get as many of the guys to work out with you as possible, especially Lyles and Exum, get them toughened up ,stronger and determined to win. Look forward to next season, appreciate your game and your character.

  9. Dzhan Tefik May 10, 2016 at 11:38 pm - Reply

    Hey Gordon, thanks for sharing your thoughts…you guys really dont have luck or experience in the last games of the season and its always so close that it really must hurt you know. But be proud , you are one very very tough home team, thats the truth and your time will come maybe soon. That last one game against Kobe & Lakers was sure crazy, we all wanted Kobe to shine, he deserves it so dont be mad about it..its a history moment even from that side of the coin. Good luck man ! Greetings from Bulgaria.

  10. Phillip Malone May 11, 2016 at 1:02 am - Reply

    Hey Gordon,
    Thanks for the season and your thoughts on it!
    I can’t speak for other fans but let me say, you and the team meet my number 1 expectation of any team I support and thats to try hard each and every night. I as a loyal fan can ask for nothing more and you and the team gave that to me night in, night out. No matter the opponents. No matter the make up of our team. You tried your guts out and I hope every fan appreciates that about the team!

    Thank you again. Have a great break! Enjoy every minute you can with your family! And I can’t wait to see you back on the court giving it your all next season (with number 11 by your side too)!

    Go Jazz.
    Phillip Molly Malone

  11. Liam May 11, 2016 at 1:10 am - Reply

    Just wanted to say that I really appreciated your effort every night. Watching you grow as a player has been really enjoyable. I know you’ve got to do what’s best for you, but I speak for 99.99% of the Jazz fans (the smart ones) when I say we hope you decide to resign with the Jazz when you opt out next summer. This organization is building something special, and you are a big part of it. I hope you’ll be a big part of this organization for many years to come. Thank you for all you do.

  12. Jeff May 11, 2016 at 2:13 am - Reply

    Congrats on a great season and an entertaining post. Excited to see what you guys do with another year of experience, a healthy Dante, and another lottery pick. Future looks bright. Next year can’t arrive soon enough. I watch all the games on league pass since I live in SD. If you are bored in your vacation home let me know. Drinks are on me. Congrats on a great season , you definitely don’t get the respect you deserve from the NBA “experts.” Enjoy the off season.

  13. Hank May 11, 2016 at 3:35 am - Reply

    Long time Jazz fan here and I appreciate the effort you put out there each night. I think the work you have put in shows with your durability. Of course anyone can succumb to the grind (injury) at any time, but I think the weight that you put on is serving you well in terms of absorbing the punishment. When you first came in, it looked like some players thought they could push you around and intimidate you. It’s neat to see how you’ve earned the respect of the league by developing toughness. Hang in there bud and hope you can lead the team to a deep playoff run in the next few years.

  14. Jan May 11, 2016 at 4:32 am - Reply

    Gordon, thanks for letting us get to know you! You stay in Utah and you’ll be our Kobe there will be some rookie looking at you. You’ve been fun to watch since your first year here in Utah, I love that we have been able to see you play and continue to see you. We did have a great year last year, I think it’s the most fun to watch the team when you guys are having fun. I’ve been a proud Jazz fan for a lot of years and will continue to be one, I hope our team stays together and everyone stays healthy I like all that you said, your a good example for the kids & a lot of kids are looking at you. Thanks for all you do, for the team as well as for our community.
    Go Jazz!
    WB Utah

  15. jk May 11, 2016 at 4:59 am - Reply

    you deliberately stepped in for that lane violation at the end to help Kobe out! you’re a good dude me hayward

    all the best in your coming seasons

  16. Lorin Leatham May 11, 2016 at 6:33 am - Reply

    Keep your head up Hayward! Between the injuries and the schedule the cards were stacked against you this season, I know next season will be better for both players and fans. As a devoted fan I loved watching every one of your games, there were ups and downs to be sure but the team that I love never disappointed. You are a star on your way to superstardom I believe you will continue to get better and better and I will continue to vote for you to play in the all-star game every year in every way. I love that you have created a blog please keep writing I would really like to keep up with what’s going on with the team and yourself in the off season, I really could never get enough basketball on my life and this will make me feel connected when I can’t watch, so thank you for writing this and keep it up!
    A lifelong Jazz fanatic

  17. Steve May 11, 2016 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    Great post Gordon.
    I was deployed with the Army overseas for almost the entire season, but came home in February. I was looking forward to a post-season to make up for the games I missed during the regular season.
    I see glimpses of greatness in you and your teammates. You can be incredible!
    I think that is why I was so upset at the losses to the Clippers and Maveriks.
    I did not see the determination, confidence and swagger you should have.
    It did not look like you had confidence in yourself or your teammates when you ran the pick and roll. Derek seems to be less confident as well.
    What is the difference between you and any Superstar? I think it is the attitude.
    Start knowing realizing and knowing your greatness.
    I am cheering for you as a person and a ball player. I love to see you with a family and happy.
    I am a fan of the Jazz because the players are great people.
    You got this G-time!

  18. T Mass May 11, 2016 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    Incredible! The hard work you and your team put into Coach Q’s process this past year was insane. I commend you for taking the lead on getting other teammates to workout and become stronger. I have a feeling it will start to pay off in the next few years. I see you playing ball this time next year instead of in front of your computer typing a blog. Good luck G! You rock!

  19. yuji orii May 13, 2016 at 2:30 am - Reply

    I’m rooting Utah Jazz and you in Japan.
    Since English is not good I can not tell well, but sends a message.
    Although the season was a little step away from the playoffs now, the season end of the Warriors and the Spurs game was impressed by exciting.
    Please enjoy the off-season right now so I believe that next season is always out on the playoffs.

  20. Justin Swapp May 18, 2016 at 3:57 am - Reply

    How can you not love G-Time? Please, never leave Utah. The future is so bright with you at the helm!

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