Published On: Sat, Aug 20th, 2016

Jazz's Hayward: Skipping Rio one of 'most difficult choices' I've ever made

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Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Back in June, Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward took a pass on USA Basketball’s invitation of a roster spot in Rio. This week, he called that decision incredibly hard.

“Making the decision to not join USA Basketball in Rio and represent my country in the Olympics was one of the most difficult choices I’ve ever had to make,” Hayward posted on his personal blog Wednesday.

Few can fault his decision, however. Hayward and his wife Robyn welcomed their second child last month and the 26-year-old knows where his priorities lie.

“Experiencing what goes on when you have a child, to me, outweighed the benefits of being an Olympian,” Hayward wrote.

Switching gears, the Jazz’s leading scorer the past three years added that he knows expectations for Utah are high this season, and has been preparing accordingly.

“We have a big year ahead of us with the Jazz,” he noted. “You miss a big chunk of that vital training time before camp when you go to do something like play in the Olympics, and it kind of changes up your routine. I want to be the best player I can be to get us to the playoffs. I want to be an All-Star this year.”

After missing the playoffs by one game in 2015-16, Utah’s offseason moves were mostly lauded throughout the NBA. Veteran additions like Joe Johnson, George Hill and Boris Diaw figure to toughen up a talented young core.

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