Rudy Gobert reflects on last season's COVID-19 microphone incident: I was trying 'to liven the mood'
Rudy Gobert's microphone encounter last March was viewed and criticized countless times in the months that followed.
The great man of Utah jazz has even been partially wrongly blamed for temporarily suspending the NBA season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, more than nine months later, as jazz kicks off its 2020-21 season, Gobert is still working to make people know why he was joking about the coronavirus pandemic that day.
"It came from good intentions," Gobert told ESPN on Thursday. “It was the first day we found out that the media couldn't interview us right next to us and we obviously didn't know as much as we know now, and I just did it to try to set the mood a little to animate.
"It was natural that if I could go back in time I wouldn't."
Rudy Gobert's positive test resulted in the shutdown of the NBA
When Gobert finished an interview session, he jokingly did everything possible to touch every single microphone and recording device in front of him. Gobert also reportedly touched players and their belongings in the locker room repeatedly - which was not well received.
A few days later, he tested positive for the coronavirus, causing the league to suspend the game almost completely on March 11th.
“It was great that the NBA responded as quickly as they did because there were just thousands and thousands of people standing next to each other in an enclosed space and a lot more people testing positive. It really was the smartest thing to do. Try to save as many lives as you can, ”Gobert said of ESPN.
As the first person in the league known to have had the coronavirus in the early days of the U.S. pandemic, Gobert was scared.
"Just all the unknowns - a lot of things, and there are still a lot of things we don't know about this virus, and even less at the time," he said of ESPN. “And as the first professional NBA player to test positive, it gave me a lot of thought. It was, you know, just looking at things and wondering if you won't be okay when you aren't. I thought of my family who couldn't be with me. At that time there was a lot to deal with.
"But when I could sit back and also realize that it wasn't just me, the whole world went through this and some people lost their jobs, lost family members ... I mean, it was just a difficult time for all of us. "
"Hopefully we will turn the corner soon"
Gobert is in a much better place now.
Not only is he cured and healthy again, but this week he signed a massive five-year, $ 205 million contract extension with the Jazz - the largest deal for a center in NBA history.
He lost 20 points and had 17 rebounds in his 120-100 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.
However, the coronavirus pandemic is still raging across the country. According to the New York Times, there have been more than 213,000 new cases per day and more than 2,600 deaths per day for the past week.
Of course, the coronavirus is still something Gobert thinks about all the time.
"I think everyone in the world has that word on their mind right now," he said of ESPN. “You know, we hear about it every day. It's something that has really influenced our lives, indirectly or directly. So it's something we're all going through right now, and hopefully we'll turn the corner soon. "
Utah Jazz Center Rudy Gobert is still being asked about his microphone incident in March. (AP / Marcio Jose Sanchez)
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