AP
Boston Celtics' Gordon Hayward watches his three-pointer during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

SALT LAKE CITY — Video game athletes, Boston Celtics fans and people who like to boo, rejoice! Gordon Hayward is returning to Utah on Friday night.

When the Celtics visit the Jazz at Vivint Arena, this will mark the first time Hayward has stepped foot in the building that looks as different as the jersey he's sporting nowadays.

At least one of those things was a major upgrade, but we'll let you decide which one.

Hayward's Boston teammate Kyrie Irving was asked about Hayward's return to his old stomping grounds, and the guard's response made it easier to see why he openly declared his belief that the earth is flat not too long ago.

"If anything he gave (seven years) of his career trying to be the best he could in Utah and I give him credit for that," Irving told Jay King of The Athletic. "And he made a decision in his career, and in his life, for his family, to be better. I’ll leave it at that.”

The way Irving put it makes it sound like Hayward sacrificed himself for seven grueling years while doing heavy-duty volunteer labor or that he worked in the salt mines for minimum wage. Keep in mind, the Jazz paid him $56.8 million and helped him become the player he is — an All-Star months before he led Utah on and dragged his feet before finally admitting that he believed the grass was a Celtic shade greener on the other side of the country.

I'll give the Jazz credit and leave it at that.

If you want to see how salty folks who cheer for the team located in Salt Lake City are, do a quick search for "Gordon Hayward" on Twitter. Here are a few publishable results:

From that SLCDunk.com blog:

This same group of fans eagerly awaiting what the then Knicks unprotected lottery pick would become and watched as Gordon Hayward became its heir. They watched and rooted for the development of the scrawny kid out of Butler even as Paul George blossomed in Indiana and saw success sooner. They took his side as Ty Corbin and Kevin O’Connor favored veterans over his and other youngsters’ development. They believed in his ability to lead them to the playoffs. They believed he would stay. They put up billboards. The believed him that he was really having second thoughts about leaving Utah even after every damn good reporter said contrary.

All for naught.

The golden boy left for his college coach to a team—at the time—that was more a contemporary to Utah than a superior. Utah Jazz fans were left with a what if. Now with a playoff contender, Utah can only think of what if they had Gordon Hayward with this Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert core. Dennis Lindsey probably tries not to recall that terrible flight home he had after finding out Gordon Hayward turned them down. Not everybody believes Hayward should be booed.

In response to this ...

... Ryan Peters wrote this:

A quick survey of Jazz fans revealed that ... nope. Not gonna happen.

Some are promoting giving Hayward the silent treatment, though.

And you can bet there will be plenty of signs and colorful phrases yelled his way. My assignment for the night has me in Provo instead of SLC, but this would be my sign if I were going and reporters could hold up signs:

"If you think this sign stinks, you should've seen my first two drafts."

This Jazz fan believes Hayward will receive the welcome he deserves.

Day made

Salt Lake City native and golf hero Tony Finau made a young golfer's day on Thursday by playing a round of golf with him at the Mayakoba Golf Classic.

WEEKEND PLANNER

Friday, Nov. 9

  • NBA: Jazz vs. Celtics, 7:30 p.m.
  • G League: Stars at Texas, 6:30 p.m.
  • ECHL: Grizzlies at Wichita, 6 p.m.
  • Women’s basketball: BYU vs. UC Riverside
  • Women’s basketball: Utah State vs. Northern New Mexico, 11 a.m.
  • Women’s basketball: Weber State vs. La Verne (exhibition)
  • Women’s basketball: Snow vs. Eastern Arizona, 1:30 p.m., at Price (USU-Eastern tournament)
  • Men’s soccer: WAC semifinals, at Seattle
  • Men’s soccer: Division II regionals
  • Women’s soccer: Division II regionals
  • Volleyball: Utah vs. Arizona
  • Volleyball: SUU vs. Northern Colorado, 6:30 p.m.
  • Volleyball: RMAC semifinals
  • Cross country: NCAA Mountain Region championships, at Provo
  • Men’s tennis: Utah, USU at LMU Invitational
  • Women’s tennis: Utah at San Diego State Invitational
  • Women’s tennis: BYU at CS Northridge Invitational
  • Prep sports: 5A football semifinals, at Rice-Eccles
  • Prep sports: 4A football semifinals

Saturday, Nov. 10

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  • College football: Utah vs. Oregon
  • College football: BYU at UMass, 10 a.m.
  • College football: Utah State vs. San Jose State, 2 p.m.
  • College football: SUU vs. Weber State, 5 p.m.
  • College football: Dixie State at Adams State, 1 p.m.
  • College football: Snow at Eastern Arizona
  • Women’s basketball: Dixie State vs. Northern New Mexico, 5:30 p.m.
  • Women’s basketball: Snow vs. Central Wyoming, noon, at Price (USU-Eastern tournament)
  • Volleyball: BYU vs. San Francisco, 1 p.m.
  • Volleyball: Utah State vs. Wyoming
  • Volleyball: UVU at Chicago State, noon
  • Volleyball: Weber State vs. Portland State, 7 p.m.
  • Volleyball: RMAC championship
  • Men’s tennis: Utah, USU at LMU Invitational
  • Women’s tennis: Utah at San Diego State Invitational
  • Women’s tennis: BYU at CS Northridge Invitational
  • Wrestling: UVU vs. Nebraska and vs. Rutgers and vs. Niagara, at Albany, N.Y. (Journeyman Duals)
  • Prep sports: 1A/2A/3A football finals, at Weber State

Sunday, Nov. 11

  • MLS playoffs: RSL at Sporting KC
  • WAC championship, at Seattle
  • Men’s soccer: Division II regionals
  • Women’s soccer: Division II regionals
  • Volleyball: Utah vs. Arizona State
  • Men’s tennis: Utah, USU at LMU Invitational
  • Women’s tennis: Utah at San Diego State Invitational
  • Wrestling: UVU at Journeyman Duals, at Albany, N.Y.