Gobert: Dealing with backlash after positive coronavirus test 'not easy'
Jonathan Bachman / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert has opened up about the public backlash he faced after testing positive for the coronavirus on March 11.

"Obviously, when you have the whole world judging you or threatening you or sending you a lot of negative energy and stuff like that, it's something that I would say is not easy as a human being," Gobert said Friday, according to ESPN's Eric Woodyard. "But, at the same time, people are just judging you on the perception they have and the perception you get from sometimes it can be one picture, one video or one interview, one action. So, people don't really know you."

Gobert was the first player in any professional North American sport known to have contracted the COVID-19 virus, and he tested positive days after he made light of the issue by touching all the microphones at a press conference. His result convinced the NBA to immediately suspend the 2019-20 season - a stoppage that will have spanned over four months by the time the campaign restarts later this month in Orlando.

The day after Gobert received his test result, his teammate Donovan Mitchell also tested positive for the coronavirus, which soured Mitchell's relationship with the center. However, the Jazz guard said Thursday that they're now good with each other and are prepared to help the Jazz compete for the title.

Gobert, who recently revealed that he hasn't fully recovered his sense of smell following his illness, echoed Mitchell's thoughts.

"A lot of stuff is going on and it's been a process, but I'm happy now that I'm in a good place and I'm happy that I get the joy back from playing basketball with my team and the competitiveness is back," he said. "I'm ready to try to go out there and try to win the championship. That's the goal.

"To be honest, after everything we've been through as a team and as human beings, it would be a great comeback."

Utah will face the New Orleans Pelicans in the first game of the season restart on July 30.

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Gobert: Dealing with backlash after positive coronavirus test 'not easy'
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