Rudy Gobert: ‘Very honest conversation’ with Donovan Mitchell repaired rift
Rudy Gobert opened up this week about how a “very honest conversation” with Donovan Mitchell helped the two Utah Jazz teammates resolve issues related to a rift that developed between them last year.
“We had a very honest conversation, and that’s all I needed,” Gobert said, per Sam Amick of The Athletic. “You know, after that, once I knew that I told him everything that was on my mind and I heard everything that was on his mind, I knew that we could move forward.”
The controversy that erupted involving Gobert and Mitchell was one of the biggest storylines when the NBA went on hiatus in March due to the then-escalating coronavirus pandemic. It stemmed Gobert’s “careless” attitude before both Jazz stars tested positive for COVID-19.
Gobert behaved questionably during a press conference in the days ahead of his positive diagnosis when he infamously touched reporters’ recording equipment laid out on a table.
NBA is suspending its season “until further notice” after Rudy Gobert of Jazz reportedly contracted the #coronavirus. What has make it worse is that he deliberately touched all the mics a few days ago during a press briefing to tell the public that the disease was not a big deal. pic.twitter.com/sSd97adIxr— Ezra Cheung (@ezracheungtoto) March 12, 2020
After Mitchell also tested positive, he seemingly called out Gobert in a social media post. Reports at the time suggested that the teammates’ relationship was “unsalvageable” due to Gobert’s cavalier attitude toward the burgeoning pandemic.
Golbert quickly apologized for his conduct, and Mitchell has insisted on several occasions in the months since that things were good between the two.
In July ahead of the NBA’s restart in the bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Gobert insisted that he was “on the same page” with Mitchell.
Amid all the speculation whether the two teammates would ever reconcile, Gobert decided to reach out to Mitchell personally to hash things out.
“For me, it was really that, being able to put myself in his shoes and I think he was able to put himself in my shoes,” Gobert said of their phone conversations. “As two young leaders of this team, when two leaders are able to do that, it can become really powerful. And I believe that’s really how we were able to grow. And in a way, we have celebrated our growth as players, as human beings, as players too. And that’s a big reason why today we believe we can win a championship together.”
It certainly appears that Gobert and Mitchell have patched things up and moved on from the controversy and any residual hurt feelings or bitterness. The duo have led the Jazz to an NBA-best 16-5 record and the team sits a half-game up on the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference standings.