Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert’s positive test for COVID-19 was the first domino to fall, suspending the NBA season and inspiring every other league to do the same back on March 11.
Since then, Gobert has donated money to outbreak relief causes and also apologized profusely. Especially since he did not take concerns seriously, to say the least, before he contracted the virus. Ultimately, it led teammate Donovan Mitchell to also test positive and now there are rumors of Gobert and Mitchell’s relationship being unsalvageable.
Former Boston Celtic and NBA analyst Kendrick Perkins defended Gobert, however, saying he’d welcome the center back into the locker room despite the turmoil.
“At the end of the day, he didn’t know no better,” Perkins said on Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” podcast.
“I was pissed off, but the thing I applaud Rudy so much for is he apologized several times. Maybe 100 times. He felt really bad. He donated a lot of money to the cause, but also, on the flip side of it, Rudy did an immature act, but it also set the tone for the world. Like ‘Hey, this is serious, let’s take notes.’
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“After the incident, the NBA led the charge in shutting down sports and from there it was a spiral effect. And everyone else was like, ‘Hold on, it’s time to shut down the world.’ So, at the end of the Rudy was kind of like a bad guy, but he was almost like a savior. And I wouldn’t say it to that nature of Jesus Christ but he possibly saved some lives by doing an immature act, so there is some good came out of it.”
Perkins even said it wasn’t Gobert’s fault, considering the NBA knew about the virus for weeks, and could have reacted before a player was infected with it.
Still, if these were his playing days, Perkins would have to talk a little trash to him.
“I definitely would have had to speak my mind and tell him, like, ‘Man, what the hell were you thinking,” Perkins said. “I would have had to read him his rights. I’m still Perk,” he said. “Eventually I would have gotten over it and we would have just had to rock it out. He would still be welcome but he would have had to hear my mouth for damn sure.”