Ep. 90: Behind the scenes of Gordon Hayward’s last year – with skills trainer Jason Smeathers

Jason Smeathers, Gordon Hayward, Boston Celtics

Gordon Hayward’s last year has not been easy. Next Tuesday, Oct. 17, is the one-year anniversary of his unlucky fall in Cleveland that resulted in a broken left tibia and dislocated ankle.

Jason Smeathers is Hayward’s friend and skills trainer, and has been with him for most of the last year. In Boston. In Miami. In Indianapolis. In San Diego.

Smeathers picked Hayward up for workouts each day, put him through on-court workouts and served as part-time motivator and full-time friend.

As part of “The Return” documentary published on The Athletic, I sat down with Smeathers to take you inside their work over the last year, the days where they just weren’t feeling it to the little things that kept them motivated.

“Another one down. Great job. We’ll go back after it tomorrow,” Smeathers would often repeat to Hayward.

They chose to focus on daily improvement rather than working with the big picture in mind. Improve every day became a motto for Hayward, who is 28 and in the second year of his contract with the Boston Celtics.

Episode four of the five-part series focuses on his time spent back home again in Indiana.

Subscribe to the Pacers Podcast on Apple Podcasts.

I welcome your questions and comments @ScottAgness on Twitter or via email.

Topics Discussed:

  • His daily role in working with Gordon and how they were all in it together
  • How Hayward’s family was prioritized and helped keep him get through it
  • Their daily routine in Boston and San Diego, which began very early
  • Focusing on each session rather than a timeline to return
  • Gordon’s passion for gaming
  • Gordon’s Grand Gauntlet

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