Rudy Gobert
Photo: Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images

Rudy Gobert has had a very tough time since becoming the first player in the NBA to test positive for COVID-19. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year has had to deal with a fractured relationship between himself and Utah Jazz teammate Donovan Mitchell (that has since been repaired), as well as criticism from everywhere. Shaquille O’Neal recently took shots at Gobert, who took the high road with claims there was no beef.

The 28-year-old Frenchman claims he uses criticism as compliments now, pointing to LeBron James’ achievements through his own struggles.

“The better you get, the more people talk and the more people are either going to praise you or adopt you or criticize you, so I kind of started to embrace it and take every kind of criticism as, in a way, a compliment,” he told The Athletic in a recent telephone interview. “I mean, look at LeBron (James). He was actually the most criticized player of our generation, and he’s the one who has accomplished the most.”

Photo: Sports Illustrated

On his relationship with Mitchell and the path to recovery, Gobert disclosed having an honest conversation with his teammate.

“We had a very honest conversation, and that’s all I needed,” he disclosed. “You know, after that, once I knew that I told him everything that was on my mind and I heard everything that was on his mind, I knew that we could move forward. I’m not going to disclose all that, but I knew that once we (had that conversation) we could move forward.”