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Utah Jazz fans stood up from their seats and chanted over and over: "Gor-don, Hay-ward" as the final seconds ticked down on a season-ending loss to the Golden State Warriors.
The Utah Jazz forward has the option to opt out of the final year of his contract to enter free agency, but an ambitious billboard and social media campaign hopes to sway the NBA All-Star to opt in to staying in Utah.
Started as a crowdfunding project by Heber City's Garrett Jones, the "Stayward" campaign will team up with Relic advertising agency to feature a prominent billboard in downtown Salt Lake City and seven more billboards along I-15 from Centerville to Murray posted for 45 days starting next week.
One of the billboard designs features Hayward in the foreground flanked by the names of former Jazz greats like John Stockton, Karl Malone, Jeff Hornacek and Darrell Griffith.
The original crowdfunding project has raised $6,600, $1,600 over the initial goal of $5,000 to put up a single billboard.
"After the success of our GoFundMe, I knew I had the manpower behind me to make an impact," Jones said in a Relic release. "I decided to use the funds we earned expand our reach in Utah."
Additional funds of over $900 after billboard costs raised by the GoFundMe project will be donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to support a friend and former teammate of Hayward's fundraising campaign, the release said.
"I just wanted to give this passionate fan base a place where we could all come together and say, 'I care about the players on this team and am proud to be a Jazz fan,' Jones said in an email interview with The Tribune last month. "This was just an idea that could show one of our players that we care."
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