Utah Jazz all-star center, Rudy Gobert, is donating $500,000 to assist people affected by coronavirus and related closures.
$200,000 will go to part-time employees of the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City who are impacted by the NBA’s decision to suspend its season. Another portion of the donation will support coronavirus-related social services such as childcare assistance for healthcare workers and those caring for the elderly in Utah, Oklahoma City, and his home country, France.
“I know there are countless ways that people have been impacted,” Gobert said in a statement published on the NBA website. “These donations are a small token that reflect my appreciation and support for all those impacted and are the first of many steps I will take to try and make a positive difference, while continuing to learn more about COVID-19 and educate others. Much gratitude, RG.”
The suspension of the NBA season due to coronavirus affects hourly employees at arenas across the United States.
Vivint Smart Home Arena employs more than 800 part-time workers who handle food service, security, and guest services. The arena also hosts concerts and public events that have been canceled or postponed due to the closure with 10 home games left in the season.
Gobert was the first NBA player to test positive for the coronavirus, influencing the NBA’s decision to suspend the season.
Before he was diagnosed, Gobert was criticized for a prank he pulled as he was leaving a media event on March 9. In jest, he touched every microphone and recorder in front of him. Gobert issued a public apology on Instagram after his diagnosis.
View this post on Instagram
I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of concern and support over the last 24 hours. I have gone through so many emotions since learning of my diagnosis…mostly fear, anxiety, and embarrassment. The first and most important thing is I would like to publicly apologize to the people that I may have endangered. At the time, I had no idea I was even infected. I was careless and make no excuse. I hope my story serves as a warning and causes everyone to take this seriously. I will do whatever I can to support using my experience as way to educate others and prevent the spread of this virus . I am under great care and will fully recover. Thank you again for all your support. I encourage everyone to take all of the steps to stay safe and healthy. Love.
The All-Star center posted a video update to the NBA‘s Twitter account on Sunday morning. He assured fans he’s getting better every day, and he wishes he had taken the threat of the virus more seriously.
— NBA (@NBA) March 15, 2020