Fire kindling? Nah, donated Gordon Hayward Jazz jerseys put to much better use

SALT LAKE CITY — After the #stayward campaign went #wayward when Gordon Hayward chose Boston over Utah, videos of No. 20 uniform cremations circulated on social media.

The jersey burnings gave Jazz fan Zach Harding an idea. Why not put the G-Time clothes to good use by donating them to kids in Africa instead of testing their flammability?

“We’d be excited,” Harding said at the time, “to see a bunch of little kids running around with Jazz jerseys in Ghana.”

Several months later, that vision turned into a fun reality.

Harding’s Salt Lake City-based company, Medical Review Institute of America, was already fundraising to provide hygiene kits and school supplies for residents in rural villages. They also were heading to Ghana with the Bountiful-based World Joy Foundation for the dedication of a new medical clinic, which his company funded.

Through their efforts and donations from Jazz fans and Pro Image Sports, their humanitarian-minded group recently was able to provide more than 200 items of clothing and apparel to appreciative recipients on the West Africa coast.

“It was an awesome experience,” Harding said.

Though the original idea was to collect bonfire-bound Hayward apparel, the group also received an unused autographed Deron Williams No. 5 Jazz jersey, 140 Jr. Jazz shirts (even revered numbers like 12 and 27), various Jazz T-shirts and — be sure to tell your friends on the Golden State bandwagon — shirts that pronounced the Warriors to be the 2016 NBA Finals champions (made before the 3-1 meltdown happened, no doubt).

Whether the shirts spread false news (Cleveland won the 2016 championship) or give false hope of a different reality (Hayward still sporting a Utah uniform), the donated clothes were greatly appreciated by people who mostly didn’t know the difference or, for that matter, didn’t have a clue who and what Hayward and the Jazz even are.

“I think they were mainly excited to have jerseys,” Harding said.

One Ghanaian in a village called Hiawoanwu was particularly pleased.

Ghanaian Dennis Agyekum, an Abomosu coach, teacher and sports director, is all smiles in his white Gordon Hayward jersey that was given to him by Zach Harding after being donated. | Courtesy Zach Harding

Dennis Agyekum, a sports director, coach and teacher at the village school, organizes a sports festival for kids. Harding’s group gave him an authentic Hayward jersey to wear for himself and gave dozens of Jr. Jazz jerseys and T-shirts for the kids …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News


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