In spite of what Twitter might say, for the Utah Jazz to one day win an NBA championship, Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell don’t need to be best friends.
In my 29 years on this planet, I’ve watched more television that I care to publicly admit. I can honestly say, however, that I’ve never seen a single episode of NBC’s “Days of Our Lives.” After the month the Utah Jazz have had, though, I feel like I’ve sat through each of the series’ 56 seasons — and yes, you read that number correctly. From Rudy Gobert’s reckless groping of recording devices to Donovan Mitchell’s positive COVID-19 test, things have been hectic.
Nevermind the actual health of the Jazz’s pair of All-Star-caliber players, though — fortunately, they’re both doing fine. No, this week’s “sexy” news has been the perceived riff that supposedly exists between Quin Snyder’s one-two punch both on and off the hardwood — especially given Mitchell’s recent interview with co-anchor Robin Roberts of ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Do you have six minutes and 52 seconds to spare, by chance? Who am I kidding — of course you do! You’re just as down with the “coronavirus quarantine” as every other human being on earth.
Anyway, have at it:
If you decided to forego the interview or plan on watching it later on, spoiler alert — nothing said is going to deliver the shock value #TakeNote Nation would have you believe is present.
Cut and dry, here are the “scandalous” tidbits:
- Mitchell admits to needing to “cool off” on Gobert after his diagnosis.
- Mitchell is asked if he’s contacted Gobert; he skates around the question.
Now, with the above in mind, could there be a real issue here?
In fact, full-time Utah Jazz beat writers like Tony Jones and Ben Anderson have even gone as far as suggesting that — though a knock-down-drag-out relationship certainly isn’t the case — from what they’ve observed in the locker room and in off-court settings, the two could be closer.
“I think a lot of people who just assume that, well — Rudy and Donovan are the Jazz’s best players, and their lockers are next to each other and we see them at the All-Star Game, so that means they’re friends. There’s just never been any evidence that they are close friends of any kind. But that doesn’t mean they’re enemies.”
For the sake of understanding, let’s assume that Gobert and Mitchell aren’t quite as tight as Siegfried and Roy — two guys who worked (very) closely together. With that mindset in place, step into their oversized shoes and lose yourself in a moment of introspective interrogation:
- Will I hold a lukewarm grudge against someone I see every day?
- Will I act hostile towards a person for whom I’m totally indifferent?
- Will I allow school-girl pettiness to keep us from an NBA championship?
Okay, back to reality (insert Eminem lyrics).
You might not be a professional basketball player, but you’re likely employed in some sort of nine-to-five capacity. Think about it: “Debbie from accounting” might not be your cup of tea, but that doesn’t mean you harbor any kind of disdain for her — you work together; that’s enough.
Let’s take things a step further, though …
All throughout NBA history, there are dozens of examples of team-leading hoopers who weren’t necessarily simpatico: Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo, Kevin Durant and literally every teammate he’s ever had. Each of the aforementioned were some of the best players on their respective teams; each of them managed to bring home an NBA title, too.
So forgive me, but if Gobert and Mitchell aren’t making friendship bracelets on Friday nights, it’s not the end of the world — when (or if) the season starts back up, they’ll make things work.
For this, at least, dial back the panic, peeps.
For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.