The scene in Cleveland during NBA opening night was one Los Angeles Lakers fans can relate to. Gordon Hayward, within the first few minutes of his career with the Boston Celtics, crumpled to the floor in a heap. Hayward’s ankle hung limply in what’s currently being called a “dislocation,” while he also suffered a fractured tibia.
The Julius Randle parallel is an obvious one, with the excitement of watching the Lakers’ lottery talent as rookie being stripped from fans in Game 1 just a few short years ago. The Celtics were ready to usher in a new era with Hayward and Kyrie Irving as their foundational stars, but that’s all on hold now.
So why are we talking about this on a Lakers blog, anyhow? Enter Kobe Bryant, who dropped a LONG Instagram message for Hayward early Wednesday morning. Kobe had some inspiration he wanted to pass to Gordon, who he’s taken under his wing in private workouts since his retirement.
Be sad. Be mad. Be frustrated. Scream. Cry. Sulk. When you wake up you will think it was just a nightmare only to realize it’s all too real. You will be angry and wish for the day back, the game back THAT play back. But reality gives nothing back and nor should you. Time to move on and focus on doing everything in your power to prepare for surgery, ask all the questions to be sure you understand fully the procedure so that you may visualize it in your subconscious while being operated on and better the chance of it’s success. Then focus on the recovery process day by day by day. It’s a long journey but if you focus on the mini milestones along the way you will find beauty in the struggle of doing simple things that prior to this injury were taken for granted. This will also mean that when you return you will have a new perspective. You will be so appreciative of being able to stand, walk, run that you will train harder than you ever have. You see the belief within you grow with each mini milestone and you will come back a better player for it. Best of luck to you on this journey my brother #mambamentality always.
The recovery process is something Kobe had a lot of time to absorb following his Achilles injury. He’s previously spoken about the small victories, or “mini milestones” as he calls them in his message to Hayward, helped keep his focus on the bigger picture.
The lastest lesson from the Mamba to one of his disciples is to focus on the small steps which eventually will become the full stride he once had.
If you haven’t seen the injury, here it is. There is a nasty dangling ankle, and that’s the warning I give before you hit play: