Two NBA players have been known to have contracted the coronavirus (COVID-19) and both play for the Utah Jazz. One day after Utah’s 7-foot-1 center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus, teammate Donovan Mitchell was also found to have contracted the virus.
It was Gobert’s diagnosis Wednesday night that prompted the NBA to suspend the rest of its season until further notice.
Rudy Gobert was careless prior to coronavirus diagnosis
On Monday before being diagnosed with the coronavirus, Rudy Gobert met with members of the media after the team’s shootaround. When the meeting was over, Gobert, apparently downplaying the severity of the virus, felt the need to touch every microphone and reporters’ digital recorders as he was heading out the door.
Less than 48 hours after mocking the coronavirus, Gobert was the first NBA player to have been diagnosed with it. Following Gobert’s diagnosis, Donvan Mitchell was found to have it as well, prompting a public apology from Gobert who said he was sorry for being careless.
In his apology, Gobert said he had no idea he was infected with the coronavirus. He said he had no excuses for his actions and admitted he was careless. He is using his experience as a learning tool and hopes people will learn to be more serious about the disease.
It was also reported that Gobert had been careless in the Jazz locker room even prior to Monday’s incident as he went around touching players and their belongings.
Donovan Mitchell takes subtle shot at Gobert via Instagram
Chris Mannix, a senior writer at Sports Illustrated, has reported that Donovan Mitchell is ‘extremely frustrated’ with Rudy Gobert after what has transpired.
Mitchell, also via Instagram, reached out to his fans to give an update on his health. In the post, he appeared to take a subtle shot at Gobert by saying he hopes that people realize they need to behave responsibly for their safety and for those around them.
Mannix said that Gobert and Mitchell, teammates since 2018, are close. Mannis also went on to ask if the Jazz locker room would be able to survive after Gobert’s recklessness.
What’s next for the NBA?
Gobert’s diagnosis came right before tipoff of the Utah Jazz game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The teams were already on the court, but after a lengthy delay, it was announced the game was being postponed.
Later that night, the NBA released a statement saying that all games on the schedule were suspended until further notice.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has since announced that the situation will be re-evaluated after 30 days. It is unknown that if, after those 30 days, the league is cleared to play, would the schedule pick up right where it left off or would there be a shortened season.
Silver said it’s a complicated situation and there is no way of determining how long the coronavirus outbreak will last. He said the league will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates as they happen.