The NBA star reflected on the actions he took when he touched reporters' microphones and recorders in an exaggerated manner during a pregame interview earlier this year

By Nicholas Rice
July 30, 2020 03:49 PM
Will Newton/Getty Images

NBA star Rudy Gobert is opening up about the stress he faced after he was regarded as the "patient zero" of the coronavirus pandemic in American sports earlier this year.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Gobert, 28, reflected on the actions he took in mid-March when he touched reporters' microphones and recorders in an exaggerated manner during a pregame interview at the start of the ongoing health crisis, before later testing positive for COVID-19.

Acknowledging that the video made him look like "someone who doesn’t care about other people’s safety or lives," the Utah Jazz center said, "It was hard for me to see so many people question my character based on one video."

He added, "That was a big learning experience. I know who I am. People around me know who I am. Everyone is going to have a different perception and opinion of you. If I start putting my energy into that, I’m going to be living a very painful life."

Rudy Gobert
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After the video circulated around social media, Gobert offered his apologies, but the fallout was still drastic and put the NBA player into a dark place.

"The media portrayed it like I caused the NBA to shut down,” Gobert told the publication. "Instead of saying that it’s a pandemic and Rudy Gobert tested positive."

"For a lot of people who don’t think further than what’s put in their faces, they really thought I brought the coronavirus to the United States," he added.

But despite the criticism the basketball player received, he still issued an apology, filmed a public service announcement, and donated $500,000 to support coronavirus efforts in Utah, Oklahoma, and his home country of France, according to The Washington Post.

RELATED VIDEO: Rudy Gobert Purposefully Touched Reporters' Microphones 2 Days Before Testing Positive for Coronavirus

Now, Gobert says he is doing better than he was months ago, adding that he is in a "great place" mentally.

He acknowledged in the interview that it is "hard" for him to be vulnerable in discussing his mental health, and noted that he was "going through some stuff that people don’t know."

"We all have the tendency to judge people without knowing them," he said. “You watch us play basketball every day, but you don’t know who we are, what we’ve been through, what we’re going through. Get to know people. Go deeper. You can spread a lot of positive messages [on social media], but you can also spread hate and judgment. You’ve got a choice.”

Gobert told the publication that he wants to be a "competitive" leader capable of "telling [teammates] things you don’t want to hear" while still making sure to "put myself in other people’s shoes."

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