The first professional basketball player to be infected with the COVID-19 virus is giving back to the Utah community by contributing $500,000 to part-time Utah Jazz employees and making a donation toward COVID-19-related social services relief, according to NBA.com.
The Utah Jazz announced over the weekend that Rudy Gobert is donating more than $500,000 to support both the employee relief fund at Vivint Smart Home Arena and COVID-related social services relief in Utah, Oklahoma City, as well as within the French healthcare system.
The generous donation will provide $200,000 in salary aid to the part-time employees who are unable to work at the home arena of the Utah Jazz due to the postponement of NBA games and entertainment events at the venue. This will take place in conjunction with employee assistance efforts already being undertaken by Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment.
“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 in a written statement.
Gobert has also pledged that he will contribute $100,000 each to assist families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Utah and nearby Oklahoma City plus an additional 100,000 euros for his native country of France. Emerging areas of pressing need include childcare assistance to healthcare workers as well as for caregivers to the elderly.
“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.”
There are more than 800 part-time employees who work events at Vivint Smart Home Arena in many different areas, which include food service, security, guest services, custodial, and more. Because of the pandemic, four upcoming concerts have been postponed through the end of April, in addition to the remaining 10 home games that were scheduled before the suspension of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.