This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Since open letters are passe, here's an open string of texts to Gordon Hayward:

gordon …

did you hear your name? did you hear the voice of the crowd at the end of game 4, chanting "gordon hayward," over and over, and then over and over, again? …

your name echoed off the cement walls, off the steel beams overhead, off the court, off the minds and hearts of the patrons on hand …

of course you heard, because you waved as you walked off the floor …

nice gesture, acknowledging the fans …

afterward, you called it something special …

you said the fans here have stood by you and that you have nothing but love for the community …

the people of utah have grown fond of you through the past seven — seven, can you believe it? — years …

because you're the kind of hard-working player they can applaud and appreciate, the kind of player they can relate to …

they go to work everyday, bust their humps to support themselves and their families, trying to earn their paychecks, trying to do their jobs to the best of their abilities …

just like you …

at first, they weren't sure …

they didn't know …

yeah, they booed when you were drafted, but when kevin o'connor told them to wait a couple of years, they did …

and then, they cheered …

they booed stockton's selection, too, and now the man's deified around here …

he's got a street named after him, a statue on the plaza …

and you're on your way to a similar sort of status …

players can come and go, they can make their money and run, they can play for two or three or four teams, carpet-bagging as they move …

but a great player who stays in one place becomes something bigger than just that, they leave a mark, they become treasured …

they become legends …

ask mj, ask dirk, ask kobe, ask larry, ask john …

they'll tell you …

you've got history here …

deron williams threw a ball at your head, but that was no big thing …

you had to wait your turn to take over leadership of the team …

and you did …

back then, you said you could one day be an all-star …

and that day came …

sure, there was that one little dalliance with charlotte, but everybody knows that was just business …

when the jazz offered you an annual deal of what, $16 mill, some moron in the press said they were paying for a lamborghini and getting a buick …

buicks are pretty darn nice vehicles these days, but you turned into a freakin' maserati …

either way, you revved and rolled back home …

you said it yourself, you grew up here …

you lost a bunch of games here …

you busted your tail here …

you transformed your game here …

you transformed a team here …

you won a bunch of games here …

you helped turn a proud franchise into winners again here …

you got married while playing here …

you had kids here, you're raising kids here …

you've woven yourself into the fabric of the community here …

now folks are putting up billboards with your face on them, asking you to stay here …

you gotta admit, that's pretty cool …

another thing — you've got a bright coach here who believes in you, who features you, with whom you've worked longer than, say, any coach you may have played for in college …

so now you're an unrestricted free agent …

you can go anywhere you want …

boston will come calling …

indy will come calling …

miami will come calling …

anybody with money and half a clue will come calling …

they'll bat their eyes and turn their heels and pucker up and say whatever they have to say to get your attention …

those places do have their charms …

but do they have a young, promising team on which you are the centerpiece …

where you have a certain frame of reference, an appreciation for the backstory …

where you are the no. 1 option, not an add-on …

where you are the top dog of the team and the town …

where you have an emerging all-nba type of teammate, an unselfish and motivated 7-footer who doesn't need the ball to be great …

or do they have an aggressive shoot-first point guard who may be terrific but who as a priority sets up his own scoring opportunities before feeding you …

people here are too proud to beg, gordon …

but they aren't too proud to appreciate diligence, drive, competitiveness, a desire to be great, a willingness and commitment to earn that greatness …

also to appreciate genuine eagerness to play, even when your busted finger hurts, when your body hurts, when your brain hurts …

appreciate that you play because you want to win, not just when you feel 100 percent or when your agent gives his permission …

they embrace all of those things …

besides, the jazz can pay you more than anyone else …

millions more …

just wanted to pass all that along to you as the offseason commences …

everybody around here is sure you'll make the right decision …

the best decision for you …

the only decision …

thanks …

gordon

GORDON MONSON hosts "The Big Show" with Spence Checketts weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 97.5 FM and 1280 A. Twitter: @GordonMonson.

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