By Ben Golliver
The Timberwolves announced Monday the signing of forward Lazar Hayward, who promptly told the local media that he had spent some time tapping into his "spiritual" side in meetings with "mediums" in the six months since he last played in the NBA.
The Star-Tribune posted video of Hayward's comments, which are a bit, well, spooky. The 2010 first-round pick out of Marquette, who played for the Thunder in the 2012 Finals, wasted no time getting straight to the spirit talk.
"I've actually touched into another piece of my life with some spiritual stuff," Hayward told reporters. "I've been going to see some mediums. I've seen two. They've both said the same thing. I've actually been able to see a spirit when I've been in one of the meetings. I can't talk to them yet but I have seen them. ... [Mediums] are people who can see and talk to spirits. I actually had a friend go there. They were able to speak to their brother who has been dead for about six years now. That's exactly what a medium is."
The spirit quest included individual and group sessions.
"Just a meeting between [a medium] and I, and I've actually been in a group meeting as well," he explained. "They practice meditation, they teach meditation, they teach spiritual healing. Living in that enlightened state."
While Hayward opened the group interview by saying he likes to have fun and joke with the media, he presented a serious face as he stated that one particular medium even encouraged him to take up the craft professionally once he hangs up his sneakers.
"I've just kind of had a lot of questions spiritually because I've always kind of seen stuff when I was a kid," he said on the Star-Tribune video. "I'd tell my family and they would look at me and say, 'Lazar, you might need some help.' They used to make fun of me all the time. I just had a lot of questions because I've always wondered. He said I came there for a reason. He told me: 'You know what you'll be doing after you play basketball, right? You'll be having my job. I can't pay you what the NBA will pay you but you'll like it.'"
Hayward, 26, was traded by the Thunder to the Rockets as part of the James Harden blockbuster deal. Houston released him within days, though, and he went unsigned until the Timberwolves, looking for some depth following a season-ending knee injury to Josh Howard and knee-related "setbacks" for Brandon Roy, called him up from the D-League Los Angeles D-Fenders (where he had just signed and hadn't yet played in a game).
"I think it helps with me cope with some of the things that go on in basketball and life," he said of his unorthodox mental approach. "It helps me a lot." Hayward played in 42 games for the Timberwolves during the 2010-11 season. He holds career averages of 2.9 points and 1.3 rebounds per game.