Everyone thinks they’re Michael Jordan out here. I have my moments, too. —Matt Steward
INDIANAPOLIS — Hours after the final buzzer sounded to end the Utah Jazz versus Indiana Pacers game Wednesday, another group of ballers hit the court.
No, they weren’t NBA players or college studs with only high-level experience.
They were just a gang of friends, ranging from ages 22-64, competing for the love of the game, and one just happens to be the father of former Jazzman Gordon Hayward.
“Everyone thinks they’re Michael Jordan out here,” joked 42-year-old Matt Steward. “I have my moments, too.”
Fifty-four-year-old Gordon Hayward Sr. organized the pickup games while competing in a Jazz practice jersey.
Twenty guys met up on the NBA court for games to 16 straight up, with twos and threes. Indiana offers the two-hour service as part of the “Court of Dreams” program.
Although Gordon Sr.’s famous son no longer plays in Salt Lake City, he remains a loyal fan of the Jazz organization. He said he enjoyed watching Utah beat the Pacers, 104-84, to win their fourth consecutive game in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
There are no hard feelings even with his son now recovering from a likely season-ending left ankle injury for the Boston Celtics.
“I was rooting for the Jazz,” said Gordon Sr. “I was a Pacers fan growing up but now I’m a Jazz fan and a Celtics fan.”
Gordon Sr.’s group has been playing pickup games on Sundays and Thursdays since 1990 with a consistent group of at least 15 folks at Brownsburg Middle School in Hayward’s hometown of Brownsburg, Indiana.
In addition to working full-time as a managing computer and electrical engineer for Global Tel Link, Gordon Sr. also works as a varsity basketball assistant coach at Tri-West Hendricks High School.
Young Hayward often attended the invite-only runs with his dad and friends and remains in good spirits throughout his recovery from the gruesome ankle injury he suffered in the season opener against Cleveland.
“No, I don’t regret anything,” Hayward told the Deseret News in December. “I, unfortunately, got injured, but happy to be here in Boston and happy to be a part of this team.”
Boston will travel to Utah for an ESPN matchup on Wednesday, March 28, but Hayward still isn’t traveling with the team yet as he is unlikely to return this year.
“He’s working his tail off and if he could play that would be great but I don’t think that’s really possible,” Gordon Sr. said. “He’s not even running or jumping yet.”