Trying times ahead
Gobert makes $500,000 pledge to help with relief, NBA shutdown
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.
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.