Gobert contributes over $500K to COVID-19 relief, Jazz arena staff
During the NBA's ongoing suspension, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert is pledging more than $500,000 for COVID-19 relief services in Utah, Oklahoma City, and France. The donation is also going to the Jazz's part-time arena staff, the team announced.
The contribution breaks down as follows:
- $200,000 toward the relief fund for Vivint Smart Home Arena staff
- $100,000 toward families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Utah
- $100,000 toward families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Oklahoma City
- €100,000 toward the French health care system
Gobert was the first athlete in North American professional sports to test positive for the novel coronavirus, prompting the NBA to suspend its season for at least 30 days.
"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 in a statement.
"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's donation to Oklahoma City families is likely due to his presence in the city when he received his positive test result. The Jazz were set to face the Thunder when Gobert was diagnosed, causing the game to be postponed last minute.
France, where Gobert was born, is dealing with a rapidly increasing number of confirmed coronavirus cases. The country's total doubled in the last three days, reaching 4,500 confirmed cases as of Saturday with 91 deaths, according to Adam Nossiter of The New York Times. Three hundred people are now in critical condition, with half of those younger than 50.
In response, French prime minister Edouard Philippe announced that non-essential business, including bars, restaurants, and theaters, will be shut down at midnight local time to contain the outbreak.