The Utah Jazz announced Saturday afternoon that All-Star center Rudy Gobert is donating $500,000 to support both the employee relief fund at Vivint Smart Home Arena and COVID-related social services relief in Utah, Oklahoma City and within the French health care system.
Gobert became the first NBA player to test positive for the coronavirus shortly before tip-off of Wednesday’s game in Oklahoma City against the Thunder. A short time late, the game was postponed, and within hours the NBA had suspended its season for a minimum of 30 days.
“I am humbled by the tireless efforts and care of people around the globe for those affected by COVID-19, especially my own communities of Utah and France, in addition to my appreciation for the state of Oklahoma and my care there, and of course, my Utah Jazz family,” Gobert said in a statement.
“I know there are countless ways that people have been impacted. 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 and teammate Donovan Mitchell are the only two players who, so far, are publicly known to have tested positive for the virus. Teams that played the Jazz recently — including the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics — were expected to self-isolate through at least this weekend, while the Toronto Raptors — the last team to play Utah Monday in Salt Lake City — had their entire travel party tested Wednesday night and into the early hours of Thursday morning, with all of them coming back negative.
Gobert’s donation will be split in the following ways: $200,000 going to part-time employees at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah’s home arena; $100,000 each to families in Utah and Oklahoma City impacted by the coronavirus; and 100,000 Euros to the health care system in France.
Mitchell spoke out publicly for the first time earlier Saturday from self-isolation, and said he continues to feel all right.
“What’s up everybody? Donovan Mitchell here. Just wanted to say thank you to everybody for your continued support, man. It means a lot to me,” Mitchell said in the video.
“I feel fine. Things are going well. I’m just taking the proper precautions, as told to me by the health authorities. I have to stay in isolation. So I’m solo in here, playing video games all day. I can’t wait to get back out on the floor in front of the best fans in the world. I really miss playing in front of you guys, and I’ll see you guys soon.”