Utah Jazz Rumors
Mitchell himself tested positive. Mitchell was openly annoyed about the way things transpired, and The Athletic reported the relationship was “unsalvageable.” Tensions were high for everyone around the world at the time, but the teammates talked before going to the Bubble. Gobert admitted he made a mistake. The All-Star duo moved on and sources around the Jazz say it hasn’t been an issue since.
Now, Gobert and Mitchell are hoping to lead the Jazz over the top in the playoffs together. Mitchell will do most of the scoring, but he appreciates Gobert’s beyond-the-box-score impact. “People don’t pay attention to that. It’s a lot of information that people don’t really want to hear about,” Mitchell says. “But it definitely doesn’t go lost in this locker room.”
But Gobert is no stranger to adversity, even as he’s emerged as one of the game’s best centers. After being snubbed from the 2019 All-Star Game, he cried out of frustration in the midst of a media scrum. Last year, he was criticized for flippantly touching reporters’ microphones at the cusp of coronavirus pandemic, only to test positive soon after. And now, some question whether he can help lead the Jazz to the title if he can’t keep pace with the modern NBA. “Just because I’m 7 foot, and I do what I do on the court, people tend to think that I’m just a robot,” he says. “But we’re all human beings. We all have emotions. Sometimes you let them out.”
Fournier, who was already a top French player for his age group, says few people really believed in Gobert, but he competed hard. “One of the reasons why me and him are very close is because I never gave him shit,” Fournier says. But plenty of kids did. Gobert would get laughed at by his peers when he’d tell them that he’d make it to the NBA. “Everybody was looking at me crazy,” Gobert says. “I wasn’t even the best player on my team back then.”
Eric Walden: Rudy Gobert has opened a food pantry at a Salt Lake City middle school where 86% of students live below the poverty line. “It always breaks my heart to see students, kids have to worry about their next meal. I was one of those kids many years ago.”
Andrew Greif: Nico Batum smiled when asked what he’s noticed watching preseason games across the league: “The pace, the shooting, bigs shooting — I saw Rudy [Gobert] got a jumper. I was like no way, will he shoot threes now?”