On Saturday, the Utah Jazz announced that center Rudy Gobert is donating $500,000 to support both the employee relief fund at Vivint Smart Home Arena and COVID-19 related social services relief in Utah, Oklahoma City and within the French health care system. Gobert was the first NBA player to test positive for the coronavirus, and his positive test led directly to the NBA suspending the current campaign indefinitely. On Sunday morning, the All-Star center gave an update in a video posted to the NBA's Twitter account saying he's getting better every day, and that he wished he would've taken the threat of the virus more seriously.
Gobert's pledged donation will provide $200,000 in aid to part-time employees of Vivint Smart Home Arena in Utah. Additionally, Gobert will contribute $100,000 each to assist families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Utah and Oklahoma City plus 100,000 euros for his native country of France.
"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."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."
After Gobert tested positive, his Jazz teammate Donovan Mitchell did also. Gobert had been careless in the locker room in terms of touching other players and their belongings despite warnings about the severity of the situation, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. He has since toward the situation.
"I have gone through so many emotions since learning of my diagnosis…mostly fear, anxiety, and embarrassment," Gobert wrote in a social media post. "The first and most important thing is I would like to publicly apologize to the people that I may have endangered. At the time, I had no idea I was even infected. I was careless and make no excuse. I hope my story serves as a warning and causes everyone to take this seriously. I will do whatever I can to support using my experience as way to educate others and prevent the spread of this virus."
While Gobert can't go back in time and act more maturely, it's good to see that he is using resources to help others that are negatively impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19. Other players such as Kevin Love, Zion Williamson, and Giannis Antetokounmpo have also made major donations in order to help the arena workers in their respective cities.