The relationship between Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert may never be the same in the wake of the circumstances surrounding both Utah Jazz stars testing positive for the coronavirus, but it might be an exaggeration to say the situation impacted their friendship. In reality, Mitchell and Gobert were never close friends to begin with.
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon took a close look at the relationship between Mitchell and Gobert, and what he learned was that there was “friction” between the two long before they both tested positive for COVID-19. The issues are said to be typical for two NBA stars playing together and were described by one Jazz source as “a 2 out of 10 on the NBA drama scale,” but they were magnified when Gobert’s positive test brought the sports world to a screeching halt back in March.
Gobert is often animated with his Jazz teammates when he feels he was open and should have gotten the ball, and there have been numerous examples of that involving Mitchell. Gobert also took a lighthearted swipe at Mitchell during an interview following a home win over the Detroit Pistons on Jan. 14, 2019. The center had 18 points, 25 rebounds and two blocks in the game and was conducting an on-court interview when Mitchell came up behind him messing around. Gobert turned to his All-Star teammate and jokingly told him to “pass the ball, God dammit.”
MacMahon says that remark made many within the Jazz organization uncomfortable, as they knew there was some truth behind it. That type of attitude from Gobert toward Mitchell has created some tension between the two.
“If you take a paper towel and just drip water on it, the paper towel is going to get moist and then it’s going to get damp and eventually it’s going to break,” one Jazz source said. “Rudy has to pick his spots, and Donovan can’t react to everything. Sometimes you have to play chess and appease your teammates.”
Gobert, to his credit, acknowledges that he “can be very annoying.” He also said he is sometimes tougher on Mitchell because he is proud of everything the team has accomplished and wants to hold everyone to a high standard.
“Like with me, people can be hard on me and I can handle it, but for some guys, it can become very frustrating. I can understand that 100 percent,” Gobert said. “Donovan has gotten better every year since he’s gotten here. I think he’s going to keep getting a lot better. It’s pretty much, I’m the a–hole.”
In other words, Mitchell and Gobert were probably never going to spend the holidays together. That is true of a lot of star teammates in the NBA, but the coronavirus situation obviously added to the tension. Mitchell was upset with the cavalier attitude Gobert showed toward COVID-19 before Gobert tested positive, and MacMahon was told Mitchell blamed Gobert for infecting him even if it could not be proven.
Mitchell insists things are fine now between him and Gobert, but the situation will be one to monitor both in Orlando this year and going forward in Utah.
Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell was openly unhappy with teammate Rudy Gobert over the way Gobert acted prior to testing positive for the coronavirus, but Mitchell insists things are fine between the two heading into the resumption of the season.
Gobert was the first NBA player to test positive for the coronavirus, which led to the league and other major sports leagues shutting down. Mitchell tested positive later that day, and he was upset with Gobert for the cavalier attitude the center showed about the coronavirus prior to testing positive. Four months later, Mitchell says things are “good” between the two.
“To be honest with you, I understand that y’all got to ask this question. But you know, right now we’re good,” Mitchell told reporters on Thursday, per Sam Amick of The Athletic. “We’re going out there ready to hoop, um, and I think the biggest thing, you know, that, that kind of sucks was that it took away from the guys on the team, um, took (away) from what the guys on the team were trying to do, and I really wish that, as going forward, you know I think that will be, really, the primary focus, is just us jelling as a team.”
Mitchell was then asked why he chose to let the situation linger for so long rather than addressing it. He said he didn’t want to provide headline material by addressing the same issue over and over again. Mitchell said he only cared about his teammates knowing the truth.
“I wanted my teammates to know that this is how I feel,” he added. “There are moments when you’re just tired of continuing to hear over and over again, and I’m tired of addressing it, kind of going, ‘No, that’s not true’ and ‘No, this is not true’ because then you find yourself all over Twitter trying to call out people for no reason. So I just let it, and addressed it with my teammates.”
Gobert mocked concerns over the coronavirus before he realized he had contracted it. It’s unclear if he passed it on to Mitchell. In any event, the two players appear to have smoothed things over.
The Jazz are 41-23 and seeded fourth in the West.
Time apparently is healing Donovan Mitchell’s wounds.
Mitchell’s Utah Jazz teammate Rudy Gobert became the first NBA player to test positive for the coronavirus, which led to the league’s shutdown in March. Mitchell tested positive a day later and was upset with his teammate for infecting him.
There was some talk early on that the relationship between the two could not be salvaged, though that proved to be untrue.
“Right now we’re good. We’re going out there ready to hoop,” Mitchell said Thursday. “And I think the biggest thing that kind of sucked was that it took away from the guys on the team, took away from what the guys on the team were trying to do and I really wish that as going forward.”
Mitchell seems to be over what happened and focusing on working together as teammates with Gobert.
Gobert mocked the coronavirus prior to learning he had the virus, which led to some annoyance with him. He apologized for his behavior.
The issues seem to be in the past for both players, and now Utah is focusing on performing well in the NBA’s Orlando restart. The Jazz are 41-23 and seeded fourth in the West.
The selections for All-NBA forwards and centers present an interesting dilemma, as they strictly adhere to a two forward, one center format. In today’s position-less pace-and-space era of the NBA, it seems antiquated to require one center per All-NBA team. With the game speeding up and a premium being placed on spacing, there is a significant decrease in demand for traditional centers. Teams like the Houston Rockets don’t even believe in playing a center.
The NBA recognized this shift in basketball ideology by removing positions from the frontcourt of the All-Star ballot and allowing for three frontcourt players of any position to be named a starter. While this was a step in the right direction, no changes have been made to the format of the All-NBA teams, resulting in less deserving players on the All-NBA teams simply due to their position.
With that caveat in mind, here are my selections for the All-NBA forwards and centers. (You can see my 2020 All-NBA guards here)
The tension between Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell apparently has passed.
Utah Jazz executive vice president Dennis Lindsey spoke with local reporters on a video conference call Tuesday. Lindsey said that Gobert and Mitchell are ready to put their issues behind them.
Mitchell had some beef towards Gobert over the coronavirus. Mitchell believed that Gobert acted irresponsibility while unknowingly infected with the virus, which led to Mitchell becoming infected. One report said the relationship between the two could not be salvaged, but Gobert disputed that, and so does Lindsey.
The Jazz were 41-23 before the season was suspended, and Mitchell and Gobert are two of their best players, so there is no reason they shouldn’t try to get along.
Lindsey also told reporters they expect to open the team practice facility soon and that he would like the season to be completed as long as it is safe.
The Jazz were having a nice season and fourth in the West at the time of the season’s suspension.
Rudy Gobert has apologized on numerous occasions for the cavalier attitude he showed toward the coronavirus prior to testing positive for the disease, but that hasn’t stopped the Utah Jazz star from being heckled about it.
Gobert was live-steaming while playing “Call of Duty” on Monday when a member of his party called him out for bringing the coronavirus to the NBA. Gobert fired back by telling the other gamer to “go to school, p—y.” Beware that the video below contains inappropriate language.
Trash talk is just part of the gig when you’re streaming while playing video games, so Gobert is likely used to it. However, he is already having enough issues with his own teammates over what happened back in March, so he probably doesn’t want to hear it while playing “Call of Duty.”
Many pro athletes are big “Call of Duty” fans, and one NBA star even learned about the postponed season while playing the game.
H/T Complex Sports
The Utah Jazz were at the center of the coronavirus pandemic when center Rudy Gobert became the first NBA player to test positive for the virus. That happened in March and led to the immediate suspension of the league’s season.
Not only did Gobert’s positive test lead to the suspension of the season and many other pro sports events to suspend play as well, but it caused an issue within the Jazz.
Gobert’s teammate, Donovan Mitchell, also tested positive for the virus and seemed to be ticked off at Gobert about it.
Even though a report said the relationship between the two was not salvageable, the two players spoke and seemed to work things out.
On top of that, The Athletic’s Tony Jones wrote in a mailbag published Monday that he believes the team and players will make it through this.
Enough time has passed since both players had the virus, and each of them have been cleared. If they can’t work things out — and if Mitchell can’t forgive Gobert more than a month later — than he has some serious maturity issues to overcome.
The Jazz were 41-23 and emerging as one of the better teams in the West prior to the season’s suspension.
Chris Paul had a nice gesture for the Utah Jazz during their uncertain time last month as they awaited testing for the coronavirus.
The Athletic published a story on Friday that had an inside look at the Jazz, whose center, Rudy Gobert, had the first positive coronavirus test in the NBA.
After learning about Gobert’s positive test, the NBA postponed that evening’s game between the Jazz and Paul’s Oklahoma City Thunder. As players stood around uncertain of what the future held, and readying to be tested for the virus, Paul had his security guard go on a beer run for him. CP3 hooked up the Jazz players with beer and wine to help them pass the time of uneasiness.
“One of the best things all night was Chris Paul trying to get us some refreshments, which was great,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder told The Athletic. “That was a nice gesture.”
At that time, the players probably could not have predicted that a nationwide shutdown would ensue, and that the future of the entire season would be in question. But for those scary moments, Paul did what he could to try and help them pass the time.
Paul, 34, is a 10-time All-Star and the president of the players’ union.
Rudy Gobert is dismissing any concerns about lingering tension between him and teammate Donovan Mitchell.
In March, Gobert became the first NBA player to test positive for the coronavirus, which led to an immediate shutdown of all NBA activity. Gobert was cavalier in his behavior prior to testing positive, which led to criticism about him acting irresponsibly. Mitchell became the next player to test positive and was the only other Utah Jazz player who ended up with the virus. After testing positive, Mitchell seemed to share that he was frustrated with Gobert.
About a month later, both players have recovered from the virus, and a report says the relationship between the two is not salvageable. Gobert disagrees.
Gobert went on Instagram Live and said reports of tension between the two was a “media creation.”
Gobert also said he and Mitchell have talked and are mending things.
Of course, this is coming from Gobert, so he’s going to say things are positive. Mitchell’s opinion might differ.
But while Gobert did act irresponsibly, he did not do so knowingly and therefore should be forgiven.
Rudy Gobert drew significant criticism for his reckless behavior prior to his coronavirus diagnosis, and now one fellow NBA player is bashing him as well.
In an interview this week with Italian outlet Corriere della Sera, San Antonio Spurs guard Marco Belinelli spoke unfavorably about Gobert’s actions.
“Terrible,” said Belinelli, per Jeff Garcia of WOAI in San Antonio. “I prefer not to express myself because I don’t want to say things that then seem offensive or too serious, but what he did was yes, terrible.”
The 34-year-old Belinelli hails from Italy, a country that has been hit very hard by the coronavirus. He also praised local efforts to fight the disease.
“From a distance I see how all our doctors, our nurses, all those who are on the front line against the virus are giving 150% to heal people,” he said.
As for the Utah Jazz center Gobert, he was the first NBA player to test positive for COVID-19 and was touching microphones as well as reportedly exhibiting careless behavior in the locker room before his diagnosis. While the All-Star big has since apologized for not taking the disease seriously, his relationship with one teammate may be permanently damaged due to his actions.