Rudy Gobert would do things differently if he could do it all over again.
The Utah Jazz center, who has admitted to be being “careless” before becoming the first professional athlete in North America to test positive amid the coronavirus pandemic, said on the NBA’s Twitter feed on Sunday that he wishes he “would have took this thing more seriously” and urges everyone to take the necessary precautions against the spread of COVID-19.
“I hope everyone else will do so, because we can do it together,” Gobert said at the conclusion of the 64-second video. “Take care and stay safe.”
Gobert had announced Saturday a $500,000 donation split between out-of-work, part-time arena employees in Utah – due to the NBA’s shutdown – to childcare and healthcare workers and to families in Utah, Oklahoma and France, his home country, affected by the coronavirus.
The first-time All-Star center had felt ill before Wednesday’s game against Oklahoma City, prompting its swift cancelation. Gobert’s star teammate Donovan Mitchell tested positive thereafter, as did Detroit Pistons forward Christian Wood, the only known NBA players thus far to have contracted the virus. Mitchell’s father Donovan Mitchell Sr., a Mets executive, later tested negative.
Wood and the Pistons had played last Sunday at Madison Square Garden, one night after facing Gobert and the Jazz. The Knicks were advised by the NBA to remain in self-quarantine since they arrived back in New York after playing in Atlanta on Thursday night.
At a press conference earlier last week, Gobert had jokingly touched reporters’ microphones on a table in front of him, making light of the perceived overreaction over the seriousness of the spreading virus.
“I’m gonna start by saying thank you to all the people that have been supportive and for all the positive energy. It really means a lot,” Gobert said at the beginning of Sunday’s released video. “As for myself, I’ve been feeling a little better every single day, thanks to the healthcare people of Utah and Oklahoma City and other great people around me.
“As you may already know, I’m just wanting to make sure to remind you guys to keep washing your hands frequently with soap and water. Try to avoid touching your face, your nose, your eyes, and of course try to avoid making unnecessary contact with people. It’s all about protecting yourself and the people around you. I wish I would have took this thing more seriously.”