Gordon Hayward watched as the shot that would have provided one of basketball’s greatest endings soared toward the rim.
No tears, either.
“I’ve never cried after a game,” Hayward said. “Just not something that I do.”
Nor does Hayward recall any of his Butler teammates bawling after his halfcourt heave just missed at the buzzer of last year’s NCAA championship game, giving Duke a 61-59 victory.
But Hayward, now a rookie with the Utah Jazz, understands that some players do cry. And like most competitors, he doesn’t blame anyone for getting emotional when they’ve poured all their effort in and come up just short.
“I’ve cried as a coach when I didn’t feel like I did what I needed to do, and we had an emotional loss,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. “It’s an emotional game. It doesn’t mean you quit or were afraid. You hurt so bad because you lost. You’re out there scrapping and clawing, scratching and trying to grind a win out. You’re emotional about it.”
Letting the media know it happened, however, is a different story.
“That’s something you’re supposed to leave in the locker room,” Oklahoma City All-Star Kevin Durant said.
Miami coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters after the Heat’s 87-86 loss to Chicago on Sunday that there were “a couple guys crying in the locker room,” which brought the Heat more scrutiny than their four-game losing streak ever could have.
Some New York Knicks tried to guess which Heat players were doing the weeping as they prepared for their game in Atlanta. The aftermath of the Heat’s loss dominated the headlines, though not because Chicago had just increased its lead over Miami for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
This was because of “Crygate,” as Spoelstra called it.
“I don’t care whether a guy cries or not. I don’t see what difference it makes. But then again, I don’t have to fill three hours of a sports talk show. Those guys need something to talk about,” Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said. “Mike and Mike in the Morning, how long are they on _ three or four hours? I guess there’s just not enough games to just talk about the games. So you’ve got to try to figure out who was crying in the locker room. I’m just glad that’s not my job _ trying to figure out who’s crying.”
Spoelstra was amused by the attention and clarified Monday that he saw glossy eyes, but heard no whimpering.
Not that it matters. There is crying in basketball.