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Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert talks to members of the media at the Zions Bank Basketball Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, April 25, 2019. The Utah Jazz season ended with Wednesday's loss to Houston in the playoffs. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
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Rudy Gobert Donating To Part-Time Employees Amid Coronavirus Hiatus

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Rudy Gobert is following in the footsteps of fellow NBA stars by pledging to help cover the expenses of Vivint Smart Home Arena employees while they are out of work during the coronavirus pandemic that has suspended all NBA play.

Gobert will donate $500,000 to Part-Time Employees and COVID-Related Services in Utah as NBA commissioner Adam Silver has stated that the league will be suspended for at least 30 days.

The donation will provide $200,000 in aid to part-time employees at the home arena of the Jazz who are not able to work due to the stoppage. An additional $100,000 each will be contributed to families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Utah and Oklahoma City, plus 100,000 euros for his native country of France according to the release.

Gobert and the Jazz announced the donation in a press release.

The Jazz center was the first NBA player to test positive for coronavirus Wednesday night just as the team was preparing to play the Oklahoma City Thunder. The game was postponed and within an hour of the announcement, the entire league had been shut down.

“I am humbled by the tireless efforts and care of people around the globe for those affected by COVID-19, especially my own communities of Utah and France, in addition to my appreciation for the state of Oklahoma and my care there, and of course, my Utah Jazz family,” Gobert said.

“I know there are countless ways that people have been impacted. 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.”

One part-time Vivint Arena employee with the Twitter handle @slomalockton41 took to social media to share his appreciation for the donation.

As an employee at Vivint Smart Home Arena, I want to thank @rudygobert27! My family and I really appreciate the donation! Hope you get feeling better real soon!

Jazz players, coaches, and traveling members with the organization were all tested, with fellow All-Star Donovan Mitchell receiving a positive test Thursday morning. Mitchell and the NBA send out a tweet Saturday morning updating Jazz and league fans on his status.

The two Jazzmen remain the only NBA players to publically test positive for the virus. The Toronto Raptors sent out a press release to inform the public that all members of the organization that had been tested for COVID-19 received negative results.

The Raptors faced the Jazz Monday night, less that 48 hours before Gobert received his positive test.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, and New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson have all pledged to put at least $100,000 towards helping arena employees.

View this post on Instagram

The people of New Orleans have been incredibly welcoming and supportive since I was Drafted by the Pels last June, and some of the most special people I have met are those who work at smoothie King Center. These are the folks who make our games possible, creating the perfect environment for our fans and everyone involved in the organization. Unfortunately, many of them are still recovering from long term challenges created by Katrina, and now face the economic impact of the postponement of games because of the virus. My mother has always set an example for me about being respectful for others and being grateful for what we have, and so today I am pledging to cover the salaries for all of those Smoothie King Center workers for the next 30 days. This is a small way for me to express my support and appreciation for these wonderful people who have been so great to me and my teammates and hopefully we can all join together to relieve some of the stress and hardship caused by this national health crisis. This is an incredibly resilient city full of some of the most resilient people, but sometimes providing a little extra assistance can make things a little easier for the community.

A post shared by Zion Williamson (@zionwilliamson) on

In total, nearly half of the NBA has pledged to or is planning to compensate their employees according to NBA Spokesperson Mike Bass.

Coronavirus Resources

Have you or a family member been affected by coronavirus issues in Utah? KSL TV wants to hear from you. Contact KSL by emailing social@ksl.com.

What is COVID-19? Here’s What You Need To Know To Stay Healthy

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Four Common Coronavirus Questions Answered

The latest coronavirus stories from KSL TV can be found here.

Your Life Your Health: How can parents prepare their home, children against coronavirus?

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

The CDC does not recommend wearing a facemask respirator to protect yourself from coronavirus unless a healthcare professional recommends it.

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