Jazz’s Rudy Gobert says challenging coronavirus backlash ‘isn’t easy’

Despite joining the NBA All-Star team for the first time this season, Utah Jazz Center Rudy Gobert had to overcome public embarrassment after becoming the first NBA player to test positive for coronavirus .

The positive test of the Defensive Player of the Year on two occasions triggered the league’s suspension on March 11 and then damaged his relationship with teammate Donovan Mitchell, who also tested positive the next day.

After having time to reflect on the situation, Gobert says his relationship is better and he is ready to put this behind him to help the Jazz pursue a title during the Orlando reboot.

“Obviously, when you have everyone judging you or threatening you or sending you a lot of negative energy and things like that, it’s something that I would say is not easy as a human being,” Gobert said. “But at the same time, people only judge you by the perception they have and the perception you get can sometimes be an image, a video or an interview, an action. So people don’t really know you.”

“The people around me really know me, they know who I am and that’s what matters to me,” he added. “At the end of the day, I won’t be able to control everyone’s perception of me, but I can control my actions, I can control the things I do for the people around me, the community. The things I do for my teammates in the on the court, off the court, everything I can control and that’s what really matters to me. “

As for their relationship with Mitchell, the two stars say they are “good” and that they can co-exist in Utah. Mitchell said it was no secret that he was upset with Gobert’s initial sloppy behavior, such as touching reporters’ microphones after a press conference, before realizing his infection, but they will be ready to play when it’s time for mark.

“You look at all the duos and for us it’s like there is tension. There will be a round trip,” Mitchell said. “Obviously, I feel like I should be here. He feels like he should be there, but it’s always going to happen. It happens on every team, it doesn’t matter if they win championships or if they’re last place.” team, it will always happen. So I feel like even in a work environment, you won’t always get along or go out to eat or hang out with your teammates. “

With the NBA restart of July 30 fast approaching, the Jazz will depart for Orlando on July 7. Gobert says he feels more comfortable with the bubble concept after extensive conversations with NBA and NBPA members. He recently regained his scent after struggling for three months after his diagnosis.

With everything that’s happened lately, he sees basketball as a way to clear his mind.

“A lot is happening and it has been a process, but I am happy now that I am in a good place and happy to have regained the joy of playing basketball with my team and the competitiveness has returned,” said Gobert. “I’m ready to try to go out there and try to win the championship. That’s the goal. To be honest, after all we’ve been through, as a team and as human beings, it would be a great comeback.”