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Rudy Gobert's Utah Legacy Will Stretch into the Future

Take time to appreciate the impact Rudy Gobert made in Utah.

In the 2013 NBA draft, a skinny Frenchman was selected with the 27th overall pick by the Denver Nuggets. That night, he was traded to the Utah Jazz for cash and Erick Green. 

Eight years later, almost no one would have predicted the player Rudy Gobert would become and the legacy he now leaves behind in Utah after he was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a blockbuster deal. Although Jazz fans could see the writing on the wall for quite some time now, it's safe to say no one was quite ready for the blow of losing one of the most beloved Jazz players of all time. 

Gobert was always a leader, on and off the court.

On the court, Gobert performed at a high level every year. His career highlights, accolades, and awards include:

  • 3x NBA All-Star
  • All-NBA Second Team (2017)
  • 3x All-NBA Third Team (2019-2021)
  • 3x NBA Defensive Player of the Year (2018, 2019, 2021)
  • 6x NBA All-Defensive First Team (2017-2022)
  • Tokyo 2020 Silver Medal

Gobert was a generational talent for the Jazz who grew every year, leading the team as one of its most consistent and successful regular-season teams over his tenure. The Jazz could never translate that success to the postseason, but that was hardly his fault alone. 

Gobert's success and greatness on the court never seemed to be appreciated as much as it should have been. This was probably a consequence of being in a small market and not having the flashy offensive arsenal the NBA media and its fans glamor over. 

Either way, Gobert will always be a fan favorite here in Salt Lake City and will be remembered for his intense defense that blew the roof off Vivint Arena night in and night out.

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Off the court, Gobert has always quietly been one of the most generous NBA star in Utah. He was always open to supporting charitable projects and foundations, both in the community and abroad. 

At the height of the pandemic, during lockdowns, Gobert charitably donated $500,000 to part-time employees of Vivint Smart Home Arena. His personal charity 'Rudy’s Kids' has helped over 20,000 children and raised over $600,000. 

Gobert was constantly giving back to his community by donating to local nonprofits, opening food pantries, or fighting racism and bullying. His influence will never truly be appreciated for all he did for Utah and its community but the charitable waves he created will influence change for generations.

As far as business goes, it's hard to see an organization taking the offer that the Jazz accepted to send Gobert to Minnesota but nonetheless, it still hurts. The Jazz have never had a player that wanted to stay and win a championship with the organization more than him. 

Gobert loved and embraced Utah as his home and Jazz fans, in turn, loved him for that. Minnesota fans should feel very lucky they got one of the league's most genuine, passionate, and charitable players. 

On the court, he will bring the Timberwolves the energy and talent to be great and off the court, a connection to the community that will bring an influential impact.

The Stifle Tower, French Rejection, or Gobzilla, leaves behind a legacy of change in Utah and one that will hopefully one day be recognized as the organization raises his jersey number in the rafters to join the other Jazz greats. Until then, Jazz fans and the Utah community, salute you and wish you continued success.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @ArembaczNBA.