Boston Celtics

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 13: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes up for a shot against Gordon Hayward #20 of the Utah Jazz in the fourth quarter at Staples Center on April 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff,

Kobe Bryant stories continue to waterfall in as we approach 48 hours since the tragic death of the NBA icon. Circulating Tuesday is a story from Bryant’s final game involving the Celtics’ Gordon Hayward, who was then on the Jazz.

Commentator Mike Tirico remarked in an interview with The Ringer that Hayward intentionally stepped over the line before Bryant took his final free throw of the game and his career, which gave him 60 points on the night. Just in case Bryant missed it and Hayward could’ve given him another shot with the violation.

Hayward has weighed in about the tale on Twitter, and says it’s a tall tale. He denied intentionally committing the lane violation to help Bryant get to 60 points, instead arguing that he competed the whole way through the game just like the famously competitive Bryant would have wanted. Here’s the start of Hayward’s thread, but read the whole thing to get the context:

Good on Hayward to set the record straight and put the right spin on the thing. Think Kobe would’ve been thrilled if Hayward just let him score? Not something he would’ve ever done himself.

Also good on Tirico to acknowledge Hayward’s clarification of the story he told in that interview. Hayward’s version definitely sounds more consistent with what you’d expect from Bryant and competing against him.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at