SALT LAKE CITY — On Sunday evening, rumor became confirmed news that the rapper known as Nipsey Hussle had been shot and killed outside of a store he owned in Los Angeles at the age of 33.
Almost immediately, tributes from people around the country began to appear on Twitter, with a large contingent of NBA players expressing sadness. A number of Utah Jazz players were among those to share thoughts, including Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Jae Crowder.
While the rapper was recently nominated for a Grammy, it was his work to help build up the poorer areas of his native Los Angeles that people mentioned first before talking about his music in their tributes.
“Once he did that, obviously without even what he does on the music side, him being a mogul and trying to change and trying to show kids in America that you can become something if you come from poverty and you can change your ways, that’s bigger than what his music stood for for me, and I’m sure for the world,” Crowder said on Monday morning after the Jazz’s shootaround. “He was a very positive influence to the kids in the community of L.A. and Los Angeles as a whole.”
Crowder felt the rapper’s life resonated with NBA players because he used his money to do good.
“We have a lot of money, obviously, and sometimes we don’t do the right thing with it,” Crowder said. “He was trying to influence the other side of it, to do the right thing with it and to help your community and help your family and just do things the right way.”
Added Gobert: “I think he had a great vision, and it’s just sad. It’s sad.”
SEEING DOUBLE-DOUBLE: By the third quarter of Monday night’s game against the Charlotte Hornets, Gobert had notched his 62nd double-double of the season, tying Karl Malone for the most points-rebounds double-doubles in a single season in franchise history.
Gobert finished with 18 points and 18 rebounds, plus three blocks and an assist.
THE BEST TEAMMATE?: Jazz wing Kyle Korver didn’t play Monday night because of right knee soreness, but earlier in the day he was named one of 12 finalists for the NBA’s Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award.
The winner will be announced at the league’s end-of-season awards show in June.