SALT LAKE CITY — NBA teams don't just trade cornerstone players without a bit of emotion welling up from inside the organization.
The Utah Jazz released a tribute video to their longtime center Rudy Gobert on Wednesday, the same day the trade sending the All-Star to Minnesota was made official.
"A kid from Saint-Quentin to a Utah Jazz legend. Once a Jazzman, always a Jazzman," the team tweeted along with the video just before noon.
Gobert's career achievements are heard in a voiceover at the start of the video before highlights of his days in a Jazz uniform take over. Chant's of "Rudy" grow louder before the video ends with the word "merci," thanks in French, and a listing of his many nicknames earned on the court:
- Big Fella
- The French Rejection
- The Stiffle Tower
The Jazz traded Gobert to the Timberwolves last week in exchange for several players and draft picks.
“Rudy Gobert had a huge impact on this franchise and the entire state of Utah during his nine seasons with the Jazz,” said Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith. “One of the greatest defensive players in NBA history, Rudy will forever be considered one of the most significant players to wear a Jazz uniform. His love for and impact on this community are impossible to overstate. He fully embraced this state, especially through his Rudy’s Kids Foundation. Rudy will forever be a part of us. We wish him all the best in this next stage of his career. Once a Jazzman, always a Jazzman.”