What. A. Week.
The last seven days, as a Jazz fan, sports fan, or quite frankly just a human being on planet earth have been unbelievable. And not unbelievable in the good way, but the kind that literally thwarts your ability to believe that this is actually happening.
Last Wednesday night, things got weird.
The Jazz-Thunder game was postponed in a confusing sequence of events that were not really made clear until a tweet was posted that changed the world (like, really).
Utah Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert has tested positive for coronavirus, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 12, 2020
Sources say Gobert is feeling good, strong and stable — and was feeling strong enough to play tonight.
I’ll never forget how I felt when I read this tweet.
I felt physically ill. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I had been taking the coronavirus stuff somewhat seriously before this, but I don’t think that it had really hit home what was truly going on in our world with this thing.
When I saw that it was confirmed that Rudy Gobert, my favorite current Jazz player and one of my favorite sports figures of all-time, had the virus, I just couldn’t believe it.
This was really only the start of what was to come.
As we know, Rudy getting COVID-19 sent the whole world, not just the sports sector, into a hurricane of panic and action. Shortly after Rudy tested positive, the NBA postponed the remainder of the season, the NCAA cancelled March Madness, and added measures of quarantine started to go into effect across the United States. Donovan Mitchell tested positive for the virus the next morning, and with the help of Woj, essentially threw Rudy to the wolves in the way that everything was handled publicly.
Jazz star Donovan Mitchell has tested positive for the coronavirus, league sources tell ESPN. Jazz players privately say that Rudy Gobert had been careless in the locker room touching other players and their belongings. Now a Jazz teammate has tested positive.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 12, 2020
This turned the NBA twitter community into an absolute dumpster fire, with Rudy Gobert front and center to an insane amount of hate and backlash among NBA fans.
This put a full tank of gas on the flame that was the Donovan Mitchell-Rudy Gobert drama that existed before the coronavirus came into the picture.
Mitchell went on Good Morning America, and there was a bit of hope that he would clear up some of the beef, which didn’t happen.
EXCLUSIVE: “I think that’s the scariest part about this virus is that you may seem fine.” @NBA star @spidadmitchell speaks out for the first time from isolation since being diagnosed with COVID-19, despite being “asymptomatic.” https://t.co/i9rZzYvW4s pic.twitter.com/wZJBteQjtV— Good Morning America (@GMA) March 16, 2020
So aside from Jazz fans worrying about the health and safety of their franchise staples and All-Stars, now they’re worrying about the two of them getting along, and if they are going to stick around after all this settles down. Aside from that, there’s literally nothing else to keep fan’s minds off of the terrible and scary news circulating about COVID-19. No Jazz games, no sports, etc. And this was before the public really started shutting down and encouraging people to stay home.
All of this happened in a five-day span.
And then, to put a cherry on top of all this, WE GOT THE BIGGEST EARTHQUAKE IN UTAH IN THE LAST 28 YEARS.
Yooo did anyone else feel that????— Joe Ingles (@Joeingles7) March 18, 2020
Our whole house shook like crazy! Wow! First time for me!— Joe Ingles (@Joeingles7) March 18, 2020
Yooo was that an earthquake?— Royce O'Neale (@BucketsONeale00) March 18, 2020
Dawggg that was so crazy, the whole house was shaking and woke me up outta my sleep!!— Royce O'Neale (@BucketsONeale00) March 18, 2020
So, terrifying world-wide pandemic, Jazz stars beefing, NBA season cancelled, AND A FREAKING EARTHQUAKE?? SERIOUSLY?? But wait.. there’s more.
Due to the implications of COVID-19, there was a tremendous amount of weight and stress put on NBA teams’ ownership to pay the wages of arena workers and other staff that are losing hours and pay. Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment has not yet released plans to help these workers that are undoubtedly going through a really tough time.
NEW: An email sent to part-time Vivint Arena workers said that workers would only receive payment for "actual hours worked" on their next paychecks — not yet incorporating Rudy Gobert's donation or any help from LHM on lost wages. Story on @sltrib: https://t.co/RaMwK6N6Kg— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) March 18, 2020
LHMSE indicates that there are over 800 part-time employees who work at Vivint Arena, including food service, security, guest services, custodial, and other parts of event-day operations. But at this point, the company has not released plans to pay employees or support them during those games, nor have they announced how they’ll use Gobert’s $200K donation — which wasn’t mentioned in the email to employees.
President of LHMSE, opened up in a tweet last night that shows this stress and responsibility of trying to do the right thing in helping those in need.
I will be vulnerable and confess that there are tears in my eyes as I go to bed tonight. My thoughts are with our thousands of employees, their families, our community, and my neighbors and friends. I know you are worried about your loved ones. So are we.— Steve Starks (@StevenStarks) March 19, 2020
The Jazz, and other sports organizations across the world are in the really tough spot. But guess what, so is everyone else.
It’s crazy to think that it’s only been 7 days since Shams sent that tweet about Rudy testing positive. It feels like that was months ago. I think I can speak for most of us Jazz fans in saying that this week was been the longest week ever. Even outside of sports, this week has just flat-out sucked. For me, basketball has always been a way to escape real-life worries and concerns. It’s where I go to try and relieve myself of the weight and pressure that life sometimes brings. Without this escape, and amid all that’s going on right now, it’s tough. But we’ll get through it. Soon enough, the Jazz will return and I’ll be writing about how awesome Donovan Mitchell’s 48-point game against the Lakers was, or about how epic Rudy’s game-winning block on Ben Simmons was. We’ll get through it. For now, everyone focus on staying safe and healthy, and stocking up on Oreos and Milk.