When Celtics forward Gordon Hayward celebrated his 30th birthday on March 23, his wife Robyn offered to get him a basketball hoop as a gift.
But Hayward declined.
At that point, the NBA season had been suspended for 12 days and Hayward was hopeful the league’s return might be sooner rather than later. Plus, the weather in Boston was still a bit dreary. So, he turned down his wife’s proposition and continued to make do with the home gym in the couple’s basement.
Now, with no clarity surrounding the NBA’s return, Hayward is reconsidering. Perhaps he should get a hoop just to be able to get some shots up again.
“Certainly, there’s nothing like playing basketball,” Hayward said.
“It’s like a sin to be from Indiana and not have a basketball hoop,” added Robyn.
With practice facilities closed to players indefinitely, the Celtics’ trainers and coaching staff have been actively engaged with the team about at-home workouts. But Hayward’s Peloton, kettlebells, and bodyweight exercises can only do so much, especially when they’re in the same place as his three young daughters.
“It’s hard to work out consistently and intensely in your house,” Hayward said. “When you’re at the house, there’s a lot of distractions and a lot of things that can take you away from your workout.”
If the sun peeks out, Hayward enjoys going for a run outdoors. He’ll also work on ball-handling drills in the driveway.
Even if he does add a hoop to the mix, Hayward knows nothing he does on his own will simulate 5-on-5 basketball physically or mentally. Like several of his teammates, Hayward says a two-to-three week training camp would be necessary should the league resume game action this season.
In the meantime, besides doing his best to stay in shape, he’s using his extra time off to indulge in one of his favorite hobbies: playing video games. Perhaps to Robyn’s chagrin, he’ll live stream for a couple of hours during the day and then play for a few more hours at night — sometimes staying up as late as 3 a.m., according to Robyn.
His game of choice is often League of Legends, where he’s actively working to transition from “gold” to “platinum” rank. The process is no cakewalk.
“This is the time now for me to get better at video games and I still haven’t gotten to platinum yet,” Hayward said. “It’s definitely frustrating.”
His oldest daughter, 4-year-old Bernie, has also begun to show some interest in video games, so Hayward will play Pokémon or Mario Kart with her using their Nintendo Switch. They’ll also sometimes play Dauntless, which Robyn calls “a terrible idea for a 4-year-old girl” because it involves killing monstrous creatures known as Behemoths.
“She likes slaying monsters,” Hayward said.
There’s not much homeschooling on the agenda because their kids are so young, but Gordon and Robyn have done their best to educate Bernie about the coronavirus pandemic. Not only does Robyn want them to understand the importance of washing their hands, but she also wants them to recognize the value in giving back during times of need.
The couple recently donated Dunkin’ gift cards to the 450 staff members in the emergency room at Boston Children’s Hospital and catered meals for the emergency room at Newton-Wellesley Hospital.
Bernie and her sister Charlie, who is 2, also made cards for local grocery store workers. Because Robyn visits the same grocery store every week, the girls recognize some of the employees.
Said Robyn: “That was good because I want them to understand you have to help when you can.”