The National Basketball Association’s moment of reckoning came Wednesday when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.
Within minutes, the league had suspended its season and the sports world was getting a lesson in the dangers of the coronavirus. At least one other league was mulling the possibility of doing the same.
The moment also made Gobert a significant figure in NBA history, and a person the world will likely learn more about in the coming days. Here’s what we know about the first player in major North American professional sports to contract the coronavirus.
Rudy Gobert’s infamous microphone joke:
It might not be the moment he contracted COVID-19, but it will undoubtedly be remembered for decades as a flashpoint in the coronavirus outbreak for the league.
Following a practice on Monday, Gobert reacted to news that the NBA was closing locker rooms to media amid fears of the virus by touching every reporter’s recorder in jest.
The moment is decidedly less humorous now.
Rudy Gobert nearly played the day he tested positive for coronavirus
According to a statement from the Utah Jazz, Gobert — who is unnamed in the statement — had tested negative for influenza, strep throat and an upper respiratory infection after feeling symptoms.
Those symptoms reportedly diminished over the course of Wednesday, but the decision was still made to test for COVID-19. Gobert tested positive right before tip-off, prompting a scramble to postpone the game despite players and fans being present at Chesapeake Bay Arena.
Gobert never stepped foot inside the arena, though there’s no telling how long the virus has been in his system. Jazz and Thunder players were quarantined in response to the Gobert news.
Gobert was reportedly ‘careless’, teammate tests positive
The entire Jazz team was tested for the virus after the game was called off Wednesday night. Those results came in Thursday and teammate Donovan Mitchell came back with a positive test.
Per Adrian Wojnarowski of EPSN, Gobert had been careless in the locker room recently and was touching teammates and their belongings.