Rivalries are left on the court, and when an NBA player goes down, it doesn’t matter what jersey players are wearing — they all feel it.
That was the case Tuesday night, when Gordon Hayward suffered a fractured ankle less than a quarter into the NBA season opener between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics.
After the injury, as Hayward’s ankle was stabilized and he was lifted onto a stretcher, LeBron James showed all class by coming over to console the rival Celtics small forward:
After the game, James said he sent his thoughts and prayers to Hayward.
The broadcast noted it is a fractured tibia and dislocated ankle for Hayward.
Hayward was cutting along the baseline when he jumped for an alley-oop and fell to the floor with his leg bent underneath him.
Hayward’s leg was stabilized and he was carted off the floor. LeBron James, Cavaliers players and Celtics teammates shoot Hayward’s hand before he left the court.
Hayward, the former No. 9 overall selection, visited the Miami Heat, Celtics and Utah Jazz before making his free agency decision, eventually landing with Boston. He spent seven years with the Jazz.
Hayward, who is coming off an All-Star year for the Jazz and made it to the second round of the NBA playoffs, shook up the power in the Eastern Conference by adding a legitimate second offensive weapon to a Celtics team lacking one in last year’s playoffs.
He averaged a career-best 21 points and five rebounds per game last season.