The Utah Jazz traded Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves. It still doesn't feel real, and it's gotten me feeling like slapping a cup off the scorer's table, but it is true. Gobert likely won't wear a Utah Jazz uniform again.
Gobert was one of Utah's best and favorite players in franchise history. He embodied the underdog mentality of the Jazz and built himself and his team up stronger than anybody imagined. Now, we look back on his career and the legacy he leaves in Utah.
When Rudy Gobert was drafted 27th overall and traded to the Utah Jazz, he was a project. A young, raw, skinny prospect. His record-breaking physical tools were compelling, but there wasn't a ton of film to watch, and it was clear that his skills needed improving. Most Jazz fans came away from that draft with their excitement solely focused on Trey Burke, but Rudy Gobert knew he'd prove himself. He picked the number 27 for his uniform to remind everyone how many teams should have chosen him.
Despite starting his sophomore season as the third big man in the pecking order, Gobert worked his way into the starting lineup. His defensive dominance was shining, and it became clear that he needed to be this team's anchor. Gobert became a fan favorite, earning nicknames like 'The Stifle Tower,' 'Gobzilla,' and 'The French Rejection.' After his biggest highlight plays, he'd salute the crowd.
As time went on, Rudy's work showed. His game became more polished, and he began making NBA All-Defensive First Teams. His formerly scrawny body bulked up. His impact on the game became a topic of great discussion around the league. He and teammate Gordon Hayward led the Jazz back to the playoffs and won their first series. This team was showing signs that they could be serious contenders. That dream was short-lived, as Hayward opted to sign with the Boston Celtics during free agency. The burden of team leadership fell solely on Gobert's shoulders.
The Stifle Tower took that mantle of leadership and ran with it, becoming a superstar, albeit an unconventional one. He grew into the best defender, rebounder, and pick & roll big in the NBA. His career accomplishments began to grow longer and longer.
- 3X Defensive Player of the Year
- 6X All-Defensive First Team
- 3x All-star
- 3x All-NBA
- NBA Rebound Leader
- NBA Block Leader
- NBA FG%, TS%, eFG% Leader
- NBA Dunk Leader
Gobert was making his mark on the Utah Jazz history books. He climbed up the statistical leaderboards, cementing himself as an all-time great for this franchise.
Rudy Gobert ranks among Utah Jazz players:— Calvin Chappell (@CHALVIN2018) July 3, 2022
1st FG%, TS%, eFG%
3rd Win Shares
5th Free Throws
5th Box +/-
10th Field Goals
In international play, Gobert became the face of the French national team and led them to their third-ever Olympic medal, the first in 20 years. He also won two FIBA Word Cup bronze medals and one Eurobasket bronze medal.
Off the court, Gobert has contributed time, effort, and financial support to Utah, France, and other communities. Gobert's charity foundation, Rudy's Kids, has raised over $610,000 and helped more than 20,000 children in need. Whether building a food pantry, hosting a holiday drive, supporting refugees and victims of bullying, or donating thousands of dollars per block, Rudy Gobert has been actively helping those in his communities. Rudy's Kids foundation will continue to serve the children of Utah as well as Minnesota. You can donate and support at rudyskids.org.
Rudy's @Rudys_Kids Foundation did so much for children and their families in Utah "dedicated to protecting, empowering, and improving the lives of children." And he did that. Here's one instance at his Holiday Hoopla.— Sam Farnsworth (@Samsworth_KSL) July 2, 2022
: @x_hems #TakeNote pic.twitter.com/3lawHEv79N
It's hard to overstate Gobert's impact on the state of Utah and the Jazz fans. His journey from a relatively unknown international prospect to a future Hall of Fame player and a franchise great has been inspiring to watch. We've all watched his poster dunks, game-saving blocks, awards, and records. We've seen his growth from a boy to a man. We've been with him from day one, and I expect that most Jazz fans will remain Rudy Gobert fans forever, regardless of which team's name is on his jersey.
A kid from Saint-Quentin to a Utah Jazz legend— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) July 6, 2022
Once a Jazzman, always a Jazzman. pic.twitter.com/GMbOhgFsS2