Following the Boston Celtics' 123-115 loss to the Jazz on Friday, Hayward said he was caught between feeling excitement and dread before playing at Vivint Smart Home Arena for the first time since leaving Utah.
"Something in between," Hayward said, via ESPN.com's Tim Bontemps. "More than anything, I was looking forward to seeing [people]. I spent seven years here, so I built some great relationships and was looking forward to seeing some of those people ... maybe dreading a little bit about just the hoopla of the whole thing."
Hayward spent the first seven years of his career with the Jazz. He led the team to a 51-31 record and a playoff appearance during his final season in 2016-17 before signing a four-year, $127.8 million deal with the Celtics.
Fans in Utah made sure Hayward was aware they didn't take too kindly to his departure by showering him with boos each time he touched the ball.
Steph Is a Few Shots Away from NBA 3-Point History
Can Harden Keep His Dominance Going?
Steph Gifts Fan Who Asked for Girls UA Kicks with New Curry 6s
Happy 34th Birthday to LeBron 👑
4 Years Ago, Kobe Passed Jordan on the NBA Scoring List
Drummond and Embiid Reignite Rivalry
Happy 24th Birthday to Giannis Antetokounmpo
D-Rose Turned Back the Clock and Put Up 50
Dubs Trolled Fergie So Hard It Became a Challenge
CP3-Rondo Blowup Was a Long Time Coming
NBA Let Players Know They Have to Cover Branded Tattoos
The NBA Is Back and the Soccer World Is Pumped
Boban Is Back to Break It Down for Another Season
Players Battle Campers in Rivalry of the Summer
Happy 30th to KD!
Andrew Bynum Is Making an NBA Comeback
Kobe's Hottest Kicks 👟
The Kyrie-I.T. Trade Shook the NBA 1 Year Ago Today
Dyckman Courts Are the Red Carpet of Streetball
Giannis' Youngest Brother Could Be the True 'Greek Freak'
Hayward had an extended wait for the moment after he missed essentially all of last season because of a fractured tibia and dislocated ankle he suffered in the first quarter of the opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The long-awaited return didn't end with the result Hayward wanted. He struggled in defeat, scoring 13 points on 3-of-9 shooting to go with seven assists.