With Rudy Gobert coming back to Salt Lake City for the first time since being traded, the Utah Jazz can only give nothing but love for their former defensive star.
Right at the player introduction for the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday, Gobert already received thunderous cheers from the crowd as his name was called.
And on the middle of the match, the jumbotron of the Vivint Arena flashed a warming video tribute to honor the French big man’s contributions to the franchise.
Before the Wolves-Jazz bout, Gobert admitted on Thursday that he expects “a lot of emotions” once he finally enters and plays within the Jazz arena.
“There’s probably going to be a lot of emotions, but I just want to enjoy the moment and get a win,” Gobert told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “I spent nine years of my life there and created a lot of memories, have a lot of very powerful relationships with people that I love and gave me a lot of love over the years. It’s going to be weird to walk into the arena and go to the visitors locker room, but it’s going to be probably a lot of love and a lot of joy to come back.”
Gobert was shipped by the Jazz the last offseason, wherein the Timberwolves sent a loaded package of Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, and rookie Walker Kessler, as well as four future first-round, picks in return.
Gobert was the first-round pick of the Jazz last 2013 NBA Draft. From being a lanky, seven-foot center, he transformed into a defensive powerhouse with his three Defensive Player of the Year honors while helping the franchise to reach the playoff arena from 2017 until last season.