Try­ing times ahead

Gobert makes $500,000 pledge to help with relief, NBA shut­down

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - CORONAVIRU­S IMPACT ON SPORTS - By Tim Reynolds

Rudy Gobert of the Jazz of­fered the first of what he said will be “many steps” he will take to help with the coro­n­avirus pan­demic, pledg­ing Satur­day to do­nate more than $500,000 to relief ef­forts.

Gobert, who was the first NBA player to test pos­i­tive for COVID-19 — a di­ag­no­sis that prompted the NBA to sus­pend its sea­son for at least a month — said he is giv­ing $200,000 to part­time employees at the arena that plays host to Jazz games to help cover their lost wages.

He also pledged $100,000 each to as­sist fam­i­lies af­fected by the pan­demic in Ok­la­homa City, where he was when the di­ag­no­sis came, and Utah. He also is giv­ing 100,000 Euros ($111,450 USD) to relief ef­forts in France, ear­mark­ing that for child­care as­sis­tance to health care work­ers as well as for care­givers to the el­derly.

“I know there are count­less ways that peo­ple have been im­pacted,” Gobert said in a re­lease distribute­d by the Jazz. “Th­ese do­na­tions are a small to­ken that re­flect my ap­pre­ci­a­tion and sup­port for all those im­pacted and are the first of many steps I will take to try and make a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence, while con­tin­u­ing to learn more about COVID-19 and ed­u­cate oth­ers.”

Gobert was di­ag­nosed Wed­nes­day, mo­ments be­fore the Jazz were to play in Ok­la­homa City against the Thun­der. That game was called off, the league said it was sus­pend­ing op­er­a­tions af­ter the slate of games that night was com­pleted, and a sub­se­quent Pel­i­cans-Kings game in Sacra­mento was also can­celed be­cause one of the ref­er­ees in that game had worked a Jazz game two nights ear­lier.

Jazz guard Dono­van Mitchell also tested pos­i­tive for COVID-19. He re­leased a video Satur­day thank­ing fans for their con­tin­ued sup­port.

“It means a lot to me,” Mitchell said. “I feel fine. Things are go­ing well. Just tak­ing the proper pre­cau­tions. So, I’m solo in here, play­ing video games all day and can’t wait to get back out there on the floor.”

An ele­men­tary school stu­dent in Rhode Is­land tested pos­i­tive for the coro­n­avirus af­ter get­ting an au­to­graph from Gobert, of­fi­cials told NBC10. The stu­dent re­port­edly at­tended the Jazz and Celtics game in Bos­ton on March 6, which was five days be­fore Gobert be­came the first of at least two NBA play­ers to test pos­i­tive for COVID-19. It’s im­pos­si­ble to know whether the child con­tracted the virus from Gobert or else­where. A preschoole­r in the same Rhode Is­land town of West­erly tested pos­i­tive af­ter go­ing on a cruise ship to the Ba­hamas, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

Pis­tons for­ward Chris­tian Wood has tested pos­i­tive for the coro­n­avirus, a per­son with di­rect knowl­edge of the sit­u­a­tion said Satur­day night. Wood is feel­ing fine, ac­cord­ing to the per­son who spoke to The Associated Press on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause nei­ther the Pis­tons nor Wood had pub­licly con­firmed his pos­i­tive re­sult. Wood’s di­ag­no­sis be­came known one week af­ter he played against the Jazz — spend­ing much of that night matched up with Gobert.

JEENAH MOON/GETTY-AFP

Ap­parel is dis­played at the NBA Store in New York City on Thursday — the day af­ter the league sus­pended its sea­son fol­low­ing Rudy Gobert’s pos­i­tive test for the Coro­n­avirus.

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