Gordon Hayward Shoots Down Idea He Wanted Kobe Bryant to Score 60 in Final Game

In Tuesday’s Hot Clicks: Gordon Hayward sets the record straight on a viral clip, Tony Reali’s outstanding Kobe tribute and more.
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“Kobe would have lost respect for me if I gave him something free”

There’s a video going viral on Twitter of an exceptionally brief moment involving Gordon Hayward in Kobe Bryant’s final game. But Hayward says it’s not what it looks like. 

Sportscaster Mike Tirico went on Ryen Russillo’s Ringer podcast to share his memories of Kobe, including Bryant’s final NBA game—the one where he scored 60 points against the Jazz. 

Tirico mentioned that, when Kobe went to the free throw line near the end of the game, sitting on 58 points, Gordon Hayward stepped into the lane on the second foul shot in an apparent attempt to ensure Kobe another shot in case he missed it and was stuck at 59 points. A video of the moment with Tirico’s recollection has over 6 million views on Twitter. 

“That, to me, was the most unique example I could give people of the fraternity of the NBA,” Tirico said. “The reverence for greatness in the NBA is at a different level than any of the other sports that we watch or cover. It was like Gordon Hayward, his team losing in this game, they blew a lead—he had the complete wherewithal at 59 to just put a foot in the lane and look over at the ref, just in case he missed it, to make sure Kobe got another shot at 60.” 

But Hayward says it’s not true. He explained Monday night on Twitter that his only thought during the game was “to compete as hard as I possibly could against Kobe because that is what he was all about.” He was tasked with guarding Kobe most of the night, and he didn’t give him anything for free. Kobe was just that good. 

Hayward is absolutely right: Kobe would have never respected Hayward if he let him rack up points for free. That’s the complete opposite of what Kobe was about. Tirico is right about the NBA’s “reverence for greatness,” though. It’s just that Hayward showed his respect for Kobe that night by giving it his all and still getting his ass kicked. 

This is an awesome little-known Kobe moment

Somebody posted this video on Reddit yesterday from Kobe Bryant’s final trip to Philadelphia as a Laker. NBC Sports Philadelphia sent a guy named Evan Monsky to cover the game. Monksy was the point guard on Kobe’s Lower Merion teams, and Kobe showed a great sense of humor reuniting with his old buddy. 

(The parts of the video where Kobe appears start at the 4:35 and 8:12 marks.)

The best of SI

There’s an article in this month’s magazine written by an inmate at New York’s infamous Sing Sing prison about betting on football behind bars. ... Los Angeles is covered in tributes to Kobe Bryant. ... Dustin Pedroia and the pricey guarantees of MLB contracts.

Around the sports world

The best tight end prospect in this year’s draft might be this guy from Dayton who’d never caught a pass before 2016. ... Slate interviewed the guy who made that viral carpet bowling shot. ... How the Raptors and Spurs came up with their plan to honor Kobe with shot clock violations. ... ESPN is reportedly planning to take Jessica Mendoza out of the Sunday Night Baseball booth. ... A world champion canoe racer as won an appeal after claiming her positive doping test was caused by “bodily fluid contamination from her boyfriend.”

Another awesome Kobe tribute

LeBron’s first comments

Tony Reali is always great at this kind of thing

This is a man in his element

Will we be seeing this on Sunday?

Yeah... you can’t say that

I can’t wait to hear Angel Hernandez refuse to admit he was wrong

NFL quarterbacks are unreal

That’s a clip from last night’s episode of Brain Games with Keegan-Michael Key on Nat Geo. 

Putting the toss in coin toss

Not sports

A California winery employee was fired for spilling $213,000 worth of wine down a drain. ... In a separate incident, 96,000 gallons of wine spilled out of a California vineyard and into a river. ... Two elephants escaped from the circus and wandered the streets of Russia’s third-biggest city. ... Planters scrapped plans for Mr. Peanut’s Super Bowl ad funeral after Kobe’s death.

That’s too many bugs

New York is amazing

A good song

Email dan.gartland@simail.com with any feedback or follow me on Twitter for approximately one half-decent baseball joke per week. Bookmark this page to see previous editions of Hot Clicks and find the newest edition every day. By popular request I’ve made a Spotify playlist of the music featured here. Visit our Extra Mustard page throughout each day for more offbeat sports stories.