Celtics forward Gordon Hayward said today that if the Boston Celtics are still playing in September, he will leave the Orlando bubble to be with his wife for the birth of his fourth child.
“There’ll be a time if and when we’re down there and she’s [Robyn] going to have the baby, I’m for sure going to be with her,” Hayward said. “We’ll have to cross that bridge when we get there.”
This would be a pretty easy decision for Hayward to make. As much of a bummer as this would be for the Celtics, family always comes first.
“It’s a pretty easy decision for me on that,” Hayward said. “I’ve been at the birth of every one of my children, and I think there are more important things in life.”
Leaving his family was already hard enough of a decision for Hayward to make, just like it is for all NBA players who have wives and kids. It will be a struggle being away from his wife and three girls for an extended period of time. Still, he realizes that this is a difficult situation, and he wants to compete for a championship in Orlando.
“I think leaving the girlies is gonna be really hard and for sure a sad day for me,” Hayward said. “I think they’re old enough to the point where they do understand what’s going on, and we’ve tried to explain to them that I’m gonna be gone for a little while. It’s something where I think it is what it is. I think the opportunity to compete for a championship and play for a title is something a lot of us NBA players want to do. We want to go down there and continue the season and try to finish something that we’ve worked for all year. So I think there’s definitely a lot to think about.”
The good news is that Hayward says he would come back to Orlando to continue playing after his wife gives birth to their son. He would have to go through mandatory quarantine in order to be back in the bubble.
“I know the NBA has a protocol for that type of thing, and hopefully I can do the quarantining and testing the appropriate amount of time and then be back with the boys.”
As much as the Celtics would miss Gordon Hayward if he left the team to be with his family during their playoff run, playing without one of their top players won’t be new to them. The Celtics core five of Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, and Marcus Smart were only active together for 13 out of the 64 games Boston played this season. As much as it stinks, the Celtics are used to playing with at least one man down.
Hayward was having himself a great year after last year’s mess of a season. Hayward was averaging 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 4.1 assists while shooting 50 percent from the field and 39 percent from three.
We’ll have to wait and see if Boston will even still be in the playoffs when it’s time for Hayward’s wife to give birth, but I should note that if any Boston fan is upset with Gordon because of his decision, that’s a shame on them. Family always comes first, and Gordon has been trying to have a boy for years. This man deserves to be with his family and celebrate having a son. The Celtics will make it work without him if/when the time comes.
Photo: AP Photo/Charles Krupa