SALT LAKE CITY — In the month since the NBA was suspended after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus on March 11, drama has swirled over the notion that he and teammate Donovan Mitchell are at odds with each other.
That drama came to an apex on Friday when The Athletic published a story indicating the relationship between Utah Jazz franchise cornerstones Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell “doesn’t appear salvageable” after Mitchell tested positive later that night.
On Sunday night, Gobert went on Instagram Live Sunday evening and shared his thoughts on the subject. In conversations with actor and comedian Michael Blackson — a good friend of his — and TV host Taylor Rooks, Gobert noted twice how his relationship with his teammate isn’t great, but they’ve spoken in the past few days and Gobert insisted their cohesion on the court will be fine whenever the NBA resumes.
“It’s true that we didn’t speak for a while after (testing positive), but we did speak a few days ago, and you know, like I said, we’re both ready to go out there and try to win a championship for this team,” he told Rooks. “You know, it’s all about being a professional. Everyone’s got different relationships. It’s never perfect. People that are married, it’s never perfect. So, you know, me and my teammate, it’s far from perfect, but at the end of the day, we both want the same thing, and it’s winning. We’re both grown men and gonna do what it takes to win.”
Prior to speaking with Ricks, Gobert spoke with Blackson. Their conversation transitioned into talking about Mitchell after they spent some time talking about the coronavirus.
“It’s all about how you handle it,” Gobert said, noting there was a strain on his and Mitchell’s relationship. “It’s way bigger than me and Donovan. People are dying every day. I’m not really focused on feeding what people want me to feed them. It’s about how much positive I can do, and that’s what it is, and when it’s time to play basketball, we’ll play basketball. If that’s what people want to hear, they can hear it now or when we’re ready to play together and win a championship together.”
Yahoo’s Chris Haynes reported soon after Gobert’s conversation with Rooks that the Frenchman and Mitchell spoke on Saturday, “and it went well in the first step toward repairing their relationship.”
In a March 16 appearance on Good Morning America, Mitchell told Robin Roberts it had taken some time for him to “cool off” toward Gobert after he tested positive.
A few days after his positive test, Gobert donated $200,000 to part-time workers at Vivint Arena and a combined $300,000 to coronavirus relief efforts in Utah, Oklahoma (where he tested positive) and his native France.