SALT LAKE CITY — Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz has pledged more than $500,000 toward various relief efforts for those affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic, including to part-time employees at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
Gobert is donating $200,000 to a relief fund for those who no longer have work at the team's home arena due to the suspension of the NBA season. This includes more than 800 people from from food services to custodial to security, the team said in the announcement released Saturday. The Jazz had 10 home games remaining on their schedule, and the arena was hosting four concerts that have been postponed.
Gobert's donations are also in conjunction with other employee assistance efforts from Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment.
The all-star center is also donating $100,000 to assist families affected by COVID-19 in Utah, $100,000 for the same purpose in Oklahoma City, and 100,000 Euros to France, his home country. These funds can be used for things such as childcare assistance to health care workers, caregivers for the elderly and more.
"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."
Gobert was the first NBA player to test positive for the virus, and quickly received criticism for deliberately touching microphones at a press conference on the topic of coronavirus prevention. He made a public apology Thursday, saying he hopes his story can be a warning to the public to take the coronavirus situation seriously.