Right now, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert were supposed to be preparing for the playoffs to start in a few days. Instead, due to all of the madness that has unraveled in the last month and change, they are more distant than perhaps they’ve ever been, and definitely not preparing for any playoffs, let alone any basketball in the near future.
In the month since both of them tested positive for COVID-19, there’s been a lot that has happened (or, not happened) between the Utah Jazz’s All-Stars and franchise staples. Most recently, in a report from The Athletic, a source claimed that Rudy and Donovan’s relationship was “not salvageable”.
This report claimed that even though the Jazz had tried to explain to Donovan that there’s no way of who contacted the virus first, Mitchell was “reluctant” to fix things with Gobert. Just two days later, Rudy Gobert went live on Instagram and was joined by Taylor Rooks, who asked him about the reports and rumors surrounding he and Donovan’s relationship.
Snippet from the conversation with Rudy Gobert addressing media speculation about his relationship with Donovan Mitchell: pic.twitter.com/jQ8KaPEnZs— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) April 12, 2020
This should come as good news for Jazz fans, and here are a few reasons why: it came straight from Rudy Gobert. Everything that has been circulating regarding this story up to this point has been a report or rumor. Hearing Rudy Gobert talk about this, and appearing to be brutally honest and open, and just, himself, was really, really good to hear. The first thing he says after this bold question by Rooks is “it’s true”. Rudy confirms that he and Donovan didn’t speak for a while, indirectly confirming that they probably were not on great terms after both of their positive COVID-19 tests. But after confirming this, he does mention that he and Donovan spoke “a few days ago” which also confirms that they had some type of confrontation about the drama and hopefully hashed things out, for better or for worse.
At no point during this interview, does Rudy squash the rumor that he and Donovan are beefing. He never once says “No way, me and Don are homies forever, brothers till we die”. Nor does he say anything about them mending things or doing their version of kissing and making up. Rudy mentions one thing, and that’s playing for the Utah Jazz and winning a championship with Donovan Mitchell at his side. His exact words were “We’re both ready to go out there and win a championship for this team”. He compares his and Donovan’s relationship to other types of relationships that “are never perfect” both professional and un-professionally.
It’s far from perfect, but at the end of the day, we both want the same thing- and that’s winning.
Rudy Gobert deserves praise for opening up and talking about this thing in front of everyone. Unlike Donovan, or any of the other players, or the Utah Jazz in general, Rudy came out and was open and honest about his feelings and thoughts.
These 45 seconds on a casual unscheduled interview on Instagram were incredibly enlightening. It brings us to the possibly harsh reality that Rudy and Donovan probably are not homies. They might not have been enjoying each other personally for some time now, even before all of the drama surrounding COVID-19. Rudy and Don might not be BFFs, and that’s okay. It’s not ideal for your All-Stars, Co-franchise staples, and fan-favorites to not get along off the court, but it’s okay. In a perfect world, Rudy and Donovan hang out together every second they can. They’re constantly talking about how much they love each other, and how much they want to live in Utah forever and play for the Jazz until they both retire, hopefully after several championships. They both laugh together as they watch The Office and sip on Dr. Peppers in their pajamas each night before going to bed. Unfortunately, this world that we live in is, to use Rudy Gobert’s words “far from perfect”.
But just because Rudy and Donovan aren’t necessarily best friends or homies, they are still teammates. They still, both, together, represent the best hope of a Utah Jazz championship in 20+ years since John Stockton and Karl Malone had it ripped from the grasps by the greatest player of all-time. Even with all of the drama, and the beef, and the coronavirus - Rudy and Don can do this. Maybe they’ll never be best friends, but Rudy’s words give me hope that things can still work out for them on the Utah Jazz, and it won’t make the franchise or fans make the incredibly tough decision trying to choose between them.