Gordon Hayward Is ‘Honored’ To Have Shared The Court With Kobe Bryant, Denies Final Game Free-Throw Narrative

Tributes continue to flood in honoring the career and life of Kobe Bryant following the tragic helicopter crash that claimed his life and the lives of eight others. One popular video (shown above) has been in circulation on social media that details how Gordon Hayward allegedly helped Bryant out during his final game in the NBA. Now, Hayward has come forward refuting this claim.

During his illustrious 20-year career in the NBA, the Black Mamba often achieved athletic feats so incredible that they bordered on unthinkable. One of those accomplishments was going off for 60 points in his final game, but contrary to the video in question, Hayward did not help the L.A. Laker out.

Taking to Twitter, the former Utah Jazz forward clarified that he in no way was trying to assist Bryant in getting to his 60th point, and in fact, the future Hall Of Fame guard would have “lost respect” for him if he did.

“The past day has been incredibly heartbreaking for me,” Hayward starts his tweet thread.

He then referenced the purportedly intentional lane violation that ESPN broadcaster Mike Tirico details in the viral video, and calls it “not true.” Even though he was on the wrong end of an epic scoring night, and his team blew a lead, Hayward looks on the night fondly.

“He got 60 on me and I didn’t give him anything free all night. What happened on the free throw line was not intentional. Kobe would have lost respect for me if I gave him something free. That’s what made him so very special!”

In the video, Tirico says that Hayward — who was a member of the Utah Jazz at the time — showed “reverence for greatness” by intentionally stepping into the free throw lane while Bryant was at the line with a chance to score his 59th and 60th points of the night.

The video shows Hayward putting his foot into the lane, and looking towards the referee under the basket, just as Bryant is about to release the foul shot to potentially get 60 points. This play stood out to Tirico, and he always thought Hayward had done it on purpose to help the L.A. Laker pass the 60 point plateau.

Bryant was one of the game’s all-time greatest scorers, and pouring in 60 during his final game only helped add to his legacy. Hayward has dispelled that lane-violation narrative with what appears to be an attempt to make sure Bryant’s legacy remains untarnished, putting forth that Bryant was able to accomplish the feat without such an assist.

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