DATELINE: Hard Break for Celtics
Gordon Hayward came to Boston to play for the Celtics. He was a superstar ready to write his Destiny today in big letters. Instead, five minutes into his Celtics career, Destiny wrote him off.
If ever you wanted a lesson in how ephemeral are the superstars of sports, this abject lesson is a horror story. Gordon Hayward went down in a senseless act of the cosmos and its mystery waves.
But as terrible, gruesome, and awful is the injury to Gordon Hayward, it’s not as bad as what happened to Len Bias, the Celtics hope of the future so many years ago in the aftermath of the Bird years.
Bias died of a drug overdose that caused a heart attack. Or perhaps it was the other way around. Does it matter? He was an unproven talent.
Unlike Len Bias, Hayward is an established star, not some vague potential. Gordon Hayward will live to play another day. However, we don’t know how this injury may affect his ability to play at the same level that made him a superstar.
Boston hardly knows him and now may never know him as the new centerpiece of a Big Three to bring more championships to Boston. That dream may have just evaporated five minutes into a new season.
The season will go on for the Celtics. But the heart of players may have gone out with Hayward’s injury. The stomach to move on will settle down.
Grizzled old vets like Al Horford may take the injury of a teammate in such a devastating fashion in stride. It is the nature of the obvious horror that has an impact on the younger players. The Celtics core is young and impressionable. It tells them a message of sobering fright: your days in the sun can be over in a blink, or a twist of an ankle: in the crack of a bone.
Bones can be fragile and can snap like twigs in the wind. There may be no reason that can be discerned as to whom it condemns—and who may escape. The quantum physics of the universe is cruel.
The psychological damage is immeasurable on the psyche of players—and even fans. The tragedy belongs to Gordon Hayward.