Rudy Gobert of Utah Jazz, the first NBA player to test positive for COVID-19, announced Saturday that he will donate more than $ 500,000 in donations to help the community in times of crisis.
The French player – who found himself in the midst of the crisis leading to the suspension of NBA activities for at least one month – revealed that he will issue a check for $ 200,000 to help employees on time part of the Vivint Smart Home Arena, home of Jazz, who will not be able to work while the activities of the league are suspended.
An amount of $ 100,000 will also be distributed to help families in Utah and Oklahoma City affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. He will also send 100,000 euros to France to help children and the care allocated to them and staff caring for the elderly.
“I am touched by the tireless efforts and the way people take care of those with COVID-19, especially the community of Utah and France. I am also grateful to the State of Oklahoma for the care I have received, ”said Gobert in a statement released by Jazz.
“I know people have been affected in many ways (by the virus),” he added. These gifts are only a small gesture to show that I appreciate them and that I support all those who are affected. This is the first of several actions I intend to take to try to make a difference and have a positive impact, while continuing to learn more about COVID-19 and to educate the people around me. ”
He concluded his speech by adding: “With all my gratitude, RG.”
Gobert was diagnosed Wednesday, a few hours before the duel between Jazz and Thunder in Oklahoma City. The game was first canceled before the NBA made the decision to cease operations. Teams playing games across North America were able to continue play until the end of the games. The clash between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Sacramento Kings was canceled, however, since one of the referees who had to play the match had refereed the Jazz match two days earlier.
Donovan Mitchell has also tested positive for COVID-19. He released a video on Saturday thanking supporters for their support.
“It means a lot to me,” he said. I feel good. Everything is fine. I take the necessary precautions, as specified by the health authorities. I must remain in isolation. So I’m alone here, I’m playing video games all day and I’m really looking forward to coming back to the game, playing in front of the best fans in the world. I miss playing a lot in front of you (the supporters) and I will see you soon. ”
Mitchell’s father, a member of the New York Mets administration, Donovan Mitchell Senior, tested negative for the virus.
The Toronto Raptors , who faced Jazz on Monday, announced that the players and staff who followed the team on the road had all been tested and were all negative.
The NBA has suspended its activities for a minimum of 30 days. The next match could therefore take place on April 10.
Gobert followed in the footsteps of a few NBA players who chose to contribute to pay the salaries of employees at various arenas across the league. Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kevin Love got the ball rolling when he announced a $ 100,000 donation on Friday. Blake Griffin of the Detroit Pistons also pledged the same amount. New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson has said he will pay the money needed to pay the wages of employees at the Smoothie King Arena in the coming month. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton of the Milwaukee Bucks followed the example of the young player by making the same commitment with the employees of the Fiserv Forum.
Several NBA and NHL teams have offered their support to compensate the employees of the amphitheatres and the teams that will remain without work for the next few weeks.