Concerns regarding the coronavirus outbreak reached a fever pitch on Wednesday night when a member of the Utah Jazz, Rudy Gobert, reportedly preliminarily tested positive for the virus.
It prompted officials to postpone the Thunder-Jazz game right before tip-off.
Moments later, the NBA announced the 2019-2020 season is suspended “until further notice.”
Rudy Gobert-Bourgarel, 27, was born in Saint-Quentin, a commune in northern France about two hours northeast of Paris. His father, Rudy Bourgarel, attended Marist College in New York and was a professional basketball player for the French national team in the 1980s. Gobert rose through the French ranks for the Cholet Basket team and eventually as a member of the French under-18 national team.
The 7-foot-1 French phenom declared for the 2013 NBA Draft and earned the nickname, “The Stifle Tower” for his then-record wingspan of 7-feet-8.5 inches and standing reach of 9-foot-7. The center was selected in the first round, 27th overall by the Denver Nuggets, and was traded to the Utah Jazz on draft night.
In 2016, Gobert signed a four-year, $102 million extension with the Jazz including $94 million guaranteed according to Spotrac. The contract made him the highest-paid French athlete at the time.
He was awarded the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year distinction in 2018 and 2019.
Gobert started all 62 games for the Jazz this season and earned his first trip to the All-Star game.