Donovan Mitchell Admits COVID Was Factor In Strained Relationship With Rudy Gobert

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The Utah Jazz’ dynamic duo of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert might have broken up partially due to COVID-19.

That’s one of the surprising revelations from a recent interview Mitchell recently gave about his former teammate.

Speaking to Andscape, the Cavaliers star explained that simply focusing on basketball wasn’t enough to fix their relationship.

“Honestly, basketball just didn’t work,” Mitchell said. “We live in such a world where it has to be really negative. Basketball just didn’t work. We didn’t see eye to eye. We wanted to both win, but we wanted to do it two different ways. It didn’t work.

“But as far as him and I go as people, I don’t hate him, and he doesn’t hate me. I wouldn’t say we’re the best of friends, but we’re not at the point where it’s like, I can’t stand him.”

Teammates having a strained relationship is nothing new, but apparently COVID also played a factor in splitting them up.

According to SI, Mitchell said that it really got worse at the start of the pandemic.

“But honestly, it really started with COVID,” Mitchell explained. “Everything we did up to that point was under a microscope to the point where we were getting evaluated on how many times we threw the ball [to each other]. And that’s unfortunate, but it’s the reality of it. And it just didn’t work. I wish it did. I wish we went farther. We had the opportunity, but we didn’t. And we’re both in different spots now. But I want to wish him the best and I know he feels the same way.”

Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.
Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. (Getty Images)

Gobert and Mitchell Rift Over Virus?

Rudy Gobert was the first NBA player to test positive for COVID, and it was rumored he gave it to Mitchell.

That’s not a big deal now, but early in the outbreak, Mitchell might have been upset with him about it and concerning about its impacts.

Obviously both turned out to be just fine, but their disagreements seemingly might have been exacerbated.

For his part, Mitchell appears to be quite happy to be out of Utah.


Gobert has been generally effective in Minnesota as well, meaning Jazz fans will have to wonder what might have been if COVID hadn’t gotten in the way.

Written by Ian Miller

Ian Miller is a former award watching high school actor, ice cream expert and long suffering Dodgers fan. He spends most of his time golfing, eating as much pizza as humanly possible, reading about World War I history, and trying to get the remote back from his dog. Follow him on Twitter.

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