UTAH JAZZ

Utah Jazz, Fans Honor Rudy Gobert With Tribute Video, Warm Welcome

Dec 9, 2022, 7:21 PM | Updated: 8:51 pm

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Minnesota Timberwolves' Rudy Gobert (27) carries the ball while playing the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City on Friday, Dec. 9, 2022. (Courtesy of Deseret News)

(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Jazz and their fanbase honored former Jazzman and current Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert with a tribute video and warm reception back to Salt Lake City prior to Utah’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Jazz hosted the Wolves at Vivint Arena on Friday, December 9.

Prior to tip-off, the crowd showered the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year with a loud ovation as he was announced as a part of Minnesota’s starting lineup.

 

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After the first timeout, the Jazz honored Gobert with a video featuring highlights from his time in Utah.

 

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During his nine seasons with the Jazz, the Stifle Tower recorded 12.4 points, 11.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.7 steals, and 2.2 blocks per outing in 611 games.

RELATED: Gobert Hopes For Warm Welcome From Jazz Fans

This season, Gobert is averaging 13.3 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per contest.

Utah’s game against Minnesota is broadcast on AT&T SportsNet, NBA League Pass, and KSL Sports Zone.

Rudy Gobert Returns to Utah

Gobert said he’s hoping for a warm welcome from Jazz fans when he makes his return to Utah on Friday night.

The Minnesota Timberwolves open a five-game road trip in Utah where Gobert called home for the first nine seasons of his career.

Now back in Utah, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year shared his thoughts on his return to face the Jazz, and what he’s seen from rookie Walker Kessler.

Timberwolves vs. Jazz

Gobert said he was unsure of what reception he would get from fans upon making his first appearance in Utah in a rival uniform, but was hopeful he would be welcomed.

“I guess we’ll see, but from what I’ve seen on social media, hopefully, some good things,” Gobert said. “I don’t know how much they’re going to cheer for me, but regardless […] it should be a cool thing.”

Jazz fans showed their appreciation to Gobert by sending their well-wishes to the center after he was traded to the Timberwolves.

Local company Vandy Creations took those messages and incorporated them into a large sign in the shape of Utah that was given to Gobert on Thursday night ahead of his matchup with the Jazz.

Gobert had the sign featuring inscriptions from Jazz fans taken to his residence in Utah that he has held onto even after the trade.

“It just warms my heart to see that the fans still took the time to do that for me, and it’s something that I’d be able to keep forever,” Gobert said. “I didn’t get to read all the messages yet but I’ve read a few and it means a lot.”

Gobert Praises Walker Kessler

After the trade that sent Gobert to Minnesota, Jazz fans quickly warmed to rookie Walker Kessler who made a name for himself as college basketball’s best shot blocker.

Kessler admitted after landing in Utah that watching Gobert helped him develop as a rim protector.

“Growing up, Rudy Gobert is one of the greatest shot blockers to ever play the game,” the fresh-faced 21-year-old said.

Gobert in return shared his thoughts on his heir-apparent with the Jazz.

“I love him, I’ve heard great things about him,” Gobert told Tim MacMahon of ESPN. “It seems like he’s a great kid, and he’s a student of the game. Someone told me that before he came into the league, he watched a lot of film of me, so that’s kind of funny in a way. I’m really happy to see him play the way he’s playing. I wish him the best. I think he has a great future ahead of him.”

Kessler has played particularly well in his last three games.

Since the beginning of the month, Kessler is averaging 12.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks in 22 minutes per game while shooting 94 percent from the floor and 75 percent from the free throw line.

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Utah Jazz, Fans Honor Rudy Gobert With Tribute Video, Warm Welcome